Sinus Toothache: How Long Does It Take to Go Away?

As the name suggests, sinus toothache is a consequence of problems affecting sinuses (connected system of small, air-filled spaces located behind the cheekbones and forehead). It is usually not serious, but can be quite painful and may interfere with your daily activities. One of the common causes is sinus infection. The frequently asked question, how long does this discomfort ache take to go away?

Sinusitis (a.k.a sinus infection)

It is inflammation (swelling) of tissue lining the sinus cavities. And there are a number of causes of this inflammation such as due to bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. It may also be triggered by allergies or common cold.

The inflammation prevents the sinuses from draining normally, making the mucus get obstructed. As a result, there will be a build-up of mucus which will worsen the blockage & infection! This is what we call as sinusitis cycle (Infection –> swelling –> blockage –> infection).

Sinusitis is a quite common condition. It’s commonly considered as not-contagious disease, though if the infection is caused by virus or bacteria. But it’s still important for people with sinusitis to avoid direct contact with others who’re vulnerable to have the condition – such as elderly people, toddlers, or anyone with weakened body immune system.

The good news, it is mild in most cases. It rarely leads to serious problem. It usually responds to lifestyle measures (typically the treatment is nothing more than fluid and rest). Even in some cases, it may get better on its own without treatment.

However its symptoms can be very bothersome. The symptoms can vary, but the main ones are as follows:

  1. Nasal symptoms. These could be nasal congestion (obstruction) or nasal discharge (runny nose with thick, foul-smelling discharge from the nose – the discharge may also turn into yellow or green that signals the infection).
  2. Pressure or even pain over the affected sinuses such as around your face and eyes.
  3. Other symptoms include cough, fever, headache, persistent cold, decreased sense of smell, and bad breath,

The infection may also spread elsewhere in the skull such as brain, but this is very rare. Again, sinusitis is usually harmless and rarely leads to serious complications.

Sinus toothache

Toothache refers to ache or pain that occurs in or /and around the teeth. The main cause is tooth decay. And pain that you feel is usually as a result of when the dental pulp (the innermost layer of your tooth) becomes inflamed.

The dental pulp hosts sensitive nerves and blood vessels. Therefore, the inflammation in this layer can be painful. Besides tooth decay, there are a number of other conditions that can lead to the inflammation of dental pulp, these include:

  1. An aggregation of pus at the end of the tooth (periapical abscess), which usually occurs due to bacterial infection.
  2. Receding gums, a condition in which the gums shrink, exposing more sensitive areas of the tooth root.
  3. Cracked tooth. It’s usually difficult to see this crack with naked eye.

There is also pain or ache similar to toothache that has nothing to do with your teeth. The pain can occur even though the dental pulp is not inflamed. It can arise from somewhere else. And this kind of toothache is what we’re talking about in this section. It can be a consequence of the following conditions:

  1. An aggregation of pus in the gums (periodontal abscess).
  2. Ulcers that occur on the gums.
  3. An injury that affects temporomandibular joint, essential joint that attaches the jaw to the skull.

People with sinusitis can also have pain similar to toothache, especially true if the inflammation affects sinuses that are close to the teeth – see the image below (credit to Mayo and WebMD).


If the inflammation of sinusitis does cause pain similar to toothache, it is likely to occur in the upper rear teeth (or around the upper jaw). The pain is less likely to affect the bottom teeth.

How long does sinus toothache usually take to go away?

Sinusitis can be more painful if it affects your upper jaw. This symptom can be one of the hardest things to deal with, but it is usually not serious and will not hurt your teeth.

“Sinus toothache should improve once the inflammation of the affected sinus relieves. How long does it last? The answer can vary, but typically it lasts a few days or weeks.

How long this symptom takes to go away may also be dependent on the following factors: