Can a Tooth Infection Cause a Sinus Infection?


What would you say if we asked you, “Can a tooth infection cause a sinus infection?” That doesn’t make much sense, right? But this topic is a little deeper than just a surface-level question.

Tooth infections are common throughout the US with 1 in 2,600 Americans visiting a dental clinic for a tooth infection. But can cavities cause sinus problems? And if they do, how are they linked? In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about sinus infections and tooth infections! Let’s start with the basics…

What is a tooth infection?

First things first, let’s talk about tooth infections. Also known as a dental abscess, a tooth infection typically occurs when bacteria invade the innermost part of the tooth known as the dental pulp.

Whenever your tooth is infected, the infection can and might extend to its surrounding tissues such as gums, leading to swelling in the region. But how does a tooth infection occur?

How can you get a tooth infection?

There are 5 main reasons for a tooth infection, and it’s always a good idea to know what to avoid! Here are some ways any person can get a tooth infection:

Tooth decay

Tooth decay and untreated dental cavities are some of the most common causes of tooth infection. When the enamel is damaged, your dental pulp becomes exposed to bacteria which can enter and lead to infection. 

Of course, tooth decay is often a sign of poor oral hygiene practice so make sure you brush and floss as frequently as your dentist recommends! So can decaying teeth cause sinus problems? Yes, they can. 

Gum disease

Another sign of poor dental hygiene can be frequent gum diseases! Gum diseases cause the gum to pull away from the teeth and of course, this creates a pocket of opportunities for bacteria. If bacteria accumulates here, an infection is quickly whipped up, and you’ll start feeling all the signs of a tooth infection!

Dental trauma and weak immune systems

Trauma to your dental region can cause tooth infections if they’re not taken care of properly. A fracture or break from any traumatic event such as an accident can provide an entry point to bacteria. 

Plus, if you’re someone who frequently falls ill, it might indicate a weak immune system. Patients with weak immune systems are always more susceptible to dental infections than other patients. Conditions such as diabetes, HIV, or certain medical treatments that suppress the immune system can also increase the risk of tooth infections!

Dental procedures

Did you know dental procedures can also cause tooth infection if they’re not done successfully? Procedures like root canals or dental crowns might sometimes leave a way for bacteria to accumulate in your dental pulp if your dentist doesn’t clean it perfectly. 

So if you’ve gotten a procedure done, always be on the lookout for signs of root canal infections!

Cracked or chipped teeth

Cracks or chips in the teeth can expose the inner layers to bacteria. That’s why, at Premiere Dental, we recommend getting your cracked and chipped tooth fixed as soon as you can! 

Can a tooth infection cause a sinus infection?

Yes, infected tooth sinus infections are real. You can have a sinus infection because of an underlying tooth infection. Now you might be wondering, “how can cavities cause sinus infections?” While the topic is fairly anatomical, we’ll explain why this occurs in a simple way! 

Tooth infections and sinus infections may indeed be interconnected, thanks to the anatomical proximity of the upper teeth to the maxillary sinuses

How can a bad tooth cause sinus problems?

The upper back side of your mouth—the part where your molars are— is very close to the maxillary sinuses. These are a large pair of air-filled cavities located near the bones that make your upper jaw. Here is the location of the maxillary sinuses in your facial structure:

Now, the role of these cavities is to humidify the air we breathe, and it’s connected with the nasal cavity through small openings to do just that. Plus, it’s lined with mucous! 

When your upper molars get infected with a tooth infection, it will seep into the bone that lines the maxillary sinus. And voilà, you have a maxillary sinus infection from tooth infection!

Now that you know the answer to, “Can a tooth infection cause a sinus infection?”, it’s time to help you look out for the signs of a sinus infection caused by a tooth infection.

can tooth infection cause a sinus infection

Signs of sinus infection after tooth extraction

Sinus infection after tooth extraction is more common than you’d believe at first. Again, it’s important to relate your sinus infection to a recent procedure, existing and untreated cavities, or even a dental trauma that happened a while ago. But here are some more signs to look out for:

  • Facial pain or mild pressure around the eyes, forehead, and cheeks. 
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose. You might feel a blockage that doesn’t go away, indicating a swollen nasal passage. 
  • Thick and discolored mucus discharge from your nose,
  • Coughing, especially at night or when you lie down,
  • Headache in the forehead region,
  • Unexplained fatigue and a drained feeling throughout the day, 
  • Bad breath, and
  • Fever.
can tooth infection cause a sinus infection

Is sinus infection contagious?

Sinus infections are contagious when they’re caused by a virus. When you have a common cold or flu, you can easily infect others since the virus spreads fast through shared objects or even coughing in the same room as a healthy person.

However, when we talk about a sinus infection from tooth infection, it’s not a contagious condition. The bacteria won’t transmit through regular and casual contact. Apart from yourself, nobody else is at risk when the sinus infection is caused by bacteria!

How to prevent an infected tooth sinus infection?

To prevent tooth and sinus infections, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene practices and adopt habits that promote overall health. Here are some tips to help prevent both types of infections:

  • Brush regularly: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth and your tongue.
  • Floss daily: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and along the gum line, reducing the risk of infections.
  • Regular dental check-ups: Regular dental examinations can catch potential issues early.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands frequently to reduce the risk of spreading viruses and bacteria that can cause sinus infections.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your mucous membranes moist and help prevent sinus infections.
  • Use a humidifier: Adding moisture to the air in your home can help prevent dry nasal passages, reducing the risk of sinus infections.
  • Seek prompt treatment: If you have a cold or respiratory infection, seek prompt treatment to prevent it from progressing to a sinus infection.

Not all tooth infections will lead to a sinus issue, and the problem remains uncommon throughout the US. However, if you do get a sinus infection from tooth infection, the consequences can be mildly uncomfortable. 

If you suspect you have a sinus infection from an underlying tooth infection, we highly recommend you visit Premiere Dental and let the best dentists take care of your dental health! It’s not something you should take too lightly. 


Sinus pain is often a consistent but dull pain, like a minor inconvenience. You’ll also have regular allergic or flu-like symptoms when you have a plain old sinus infection. However, you can tell it’s a tooth infection if the pain is intense, and you feel sharp jolts of pain when you put the slightest pressure on your back teeth.

Yes, sinus tooth pain can be felt on one side if only one side of your upper molars is infected. However, it’s common to feel sinus tooth pain on both sides of your face because tooth infection will often spread to multiple teeth before reaching your sinuses!

Yes, tooth pain is a common symptom of sinus infections! When your sinus cavities are infected, the bacteria can seep into the upper back teeth and their surrounding gum, causing inflammation and pain. However, it’s not a life-threatening condition and can easily be resolved with a quick visit to your dentist!

Final Thoughts

Can a tooth infection cause a sinus infection? Can a bad tooth cause sinus problems? Is it possible to get a sinus infection from tooth infection? Yes, yes and yes! Many patients can not directly link their sinus problems to a possible tooth infection but the trained eye of a dentist can. 

If you’ve developed any signs of sinus infection after tooth extraction, book a same-day walk-in appointment at any of the 3 Premiere Dental clinics. We will quickly evaluate your situation and treat your problems with professionalism and care. After all, our priority is a lifelong smile for all our patients!