Can A Root Canal Cause A Sinus Infection?

Have you recently undergone root canal treatment, only to start presenting with symptoms of a sinus infection? To find out what could be causing this, why it’s happening, and what you should do, read on in this blog from Charles Kim Dentistry and Orthodontics.

Root Canals Do Not Cause Sinus Infections But May Cause Similar Symptoms

Most commonly, when a patient thinks they have a sinus infection after a root canal, it’s something else entirely. The sinus lining is extremely close to the upper teeth. When your dentist was cleaning the roots of your teeth, they could have accidentally punctured the thin sinus lining, leaving a hole. 

This is known as sinus communication and produces the following symptoms which are very similar to sinusitis:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal drip
  • Congestion
  • Pressure in the sinuses
  • The sensation of air moving across your tooth when breathing
  • The sensation of fluid in your nose when you drink

Luckily, symptoms are usually mild and only last for a few days and then resolve themselves. In some cases, however, if the hole is larger than 4 mm, you will need to get it treated to seal the hole. Signs that the hole is large include persistent and severe pain or pain that gradually worsens.

Sinus Infection Can Be Caused By Infected Teeth

On the other hand, if you do have a sinus infection, it wouldn’t have been caused by the root canal treatment itself. A sinus infection is caused by bacteria and the entire point of a root canal is to remove bacteria from the tooth. 

There are two reasons why you could have a sinus infection - your sinuses were infected before getting the root canal or the root canal treatment failed. A tooth infection can spread to the sinuses because of its proximity to the sinus lining. 

If bacteria had already passed through your sinuses then removing the bacteria from your tooth won’t prevent the sinus infection. A failed root canal means that not all of the infected dental pulp has been removed from the tooth, which leaves the infection still present in the tooth. If you have a sinus infection, you should go to a doctor to get antibiotics.

Contact Your Doctor Just To Be Safe

When experiencing symptoms of sinusitis or sinus communication, you should contact your doctor to find out what’s going on. You will need antibiotics if you have sinusitis and if you have sinus communication, large holes will need to be closed. 

There’s a chance that you just have mild sinus communication that will resolve itself, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are also experiencing tooth pain, your root canal treatment likely failed and you should contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim for retreatment or an extraction. 

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