Can a sinus infection cause a root canal? The short answer is “no,” but things are a bit more complicated than you may think. Let’s discuss this topic in-depth now, and discuss why it may seem like a root canal could cause a sinus infection.
Root Canals Don’t Cause Sinus Infections – But Your Infected Teeth Might!
As mentioned in the introduction, root canals do not cause sinus infections. So why do some people think this is possible? The reason is that while root canals do not cause sinus infections, it’s possible for infected teeth to cause sinus infections.
This is particularly common in the upper rear teeth. The roots (support structures) of the upper rear teeth are very close to the maxillary sinuses. As the infection spreads and affects the roots of these teeth, it’s entirely possible for the bacteria to move into your sinuses, causing a sinus infection (sinusitis).
There’s even a special term for this condition, though it’s a bit of a mouthful. A sinus infection caused by an infected tooth is known to dentists as “Maxillary sinusitis of dental origin,” or “odontogenic sinusitis.”
In fact, this complication of an infected tooth is quite common! It’s estimated that up to 10% of sinus infections have been traced to tooth infections. Odontogenic sinusitis is especially common among older individuals.
So, while root canals don’t typically cause sinus infections, infected teeth can. And because root canals are used to treat infected teeth, some people may think that the root canal is the cause of the infection.
A “Sinus Communication” After A Root Canal Could Cause Sinusitis Symptoms
Another reason that people may think they have a sinus infection is a relatively common complication called a “sinus communication,” which can occur during routine root canal treatment.
A sinus communication is a very small hole opened up in the sinus lining, the thin layer of tissue around the sinuses. As mentioned, the roots of the teeth are very close to the sinus lining, and sharp dental tools are needed to remove decayed material from these roots during root canal therapy.
Because of this, your dentist may accidentally penetrate the sinus lining, creating a very small hole. This can cause symptoms similar to sinusitis, such as congestion, sinus pressure, and sinus pain. You may also have a runny nose or post-nasal drip.
The good news is that, unless it’s particularly large, the sinus communication will heal on its own within a week or two. Further treatment and surgical intervention are only required for extremely large openings, which are very rare.
Come To The Good Dentist For Expert Root Canal Therapy In Merton
Along with sinusitis, infected teeth can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, and even cause further complications like a life-threatening infection called “sepsis.”
So if you think that you may have an infected tooth in Port Orange, contact us online or call us at (386) 317-4754 to schedule an appointment. Drs. Joseph and Helen Smillie are experts in root canal therapy, and can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your smile and protect your health.