Sinusitis affected 1.9 million Australians in 2011 and 2012. For most of those afflicted with sinusitis, the cold virus or allergies are to blame. In that case, the condition usually clears up within one to three weeks with the right treatment. But what if the cause doesn't relate to a virus or an allergy? A dental infection could be to blame.
Odontogenic Maxillary Sinusitis
According to a recent study in 2018, dental issues could be to blame for as much as 40% of all sinusitis cases. If you apply that to the annual sinusitis statistics of Australia in 2011 and 2012, up to 760,000 cases of sinusitis per year could be caused by dental conditions, such as gum disease (periodontitis), tooth infections, and even common dental procedures.
Maxillary refers to the upper jaw and the surrounding areas, such as the maxillary sinuses, which are just above the upper teeth, namely the premolars and molars. In fact, the Schneiderian membrane, the membrane located just above the upper teeth, is so thin that dental problems of the upper teeth can often cause sinus infections.
Dental Abscesses Cause Sinusitis
When a tooth is dying or has already died, a combination of bacteria (the bad guys), white blood cells (the good guys) and waste matter begin to build up inside the tooth. This organic matter is known most commonly as pus. A dental abscess forms when this pus has nowhere to go except down, or up in the case of upper teeth.
As this pus leaks from the root tip of a tooth, it begins to destroy the surrounding bone. A bad infection then, can destroy the bone and membrane separating the tooth from the sinus cavity, and cause a sinus infection.
Gum Disease Causes Sinusitis
Serious gum disease is known as periodontal disease. This disease is caused by poor oral hygiene and poor dietary choices. Pregnant women are prone to gum disease due to increased blood flow and hormonal changes in their bodies. Since gum disease destroys the tissues that hold teeth in place, such as the surrounding bone, it can also affect the Schneiderian membrane.
As a result, the infection can spread into the maxillary sinus cavity causing sinusitis. Moreover, damage done to the Schneiderian membrane can leave room for bacterial organisms to invade the sinus cavity.
Dental procedures, such as dental implant placement, tooth extraction, and post placement in crowned teeth, can also cause odontogenic maxillary sinusitis. While self-diagnosing such a condition can be difficult, if you suspect that a dental issue caused your sinusitis, you should seek out a dentist immediately. Otherwise, the infection could remain and even grow worse over time.