Tooth Abscess Vs Sinus Infection (Learn More)


To know the difference between a tooth abscess and sinus infection, you have to understand what they exactly are.

A tooth abscess can be caused by a bacterial infection of the gums or teeth. Sinus infection is also caused by bacterial infection but it affects the sinuses of the face. Sometimes viruses, fungus, or allergies can be the reason for sinusitis.

You will feel the pain in your upper teeth, eyes or a headache can also be associated with it. As the sinuses are near these organs, they will be affected easily from sinusitis.

The most common symptom of these two infections is toothache. And for that reason, people confuse the pain from an abscessed tooth with sinus infection more often.

Let’s dive into and explore more.

Can an abscessed tooth cause a sinus infection?

Yes, a sinus infection can be caused by a tooth abscess. When you let a tooth abscess go untreated for a long time, it can get deadly. Though it is very rare and doesn’t happen if you take care of your tooth abscess early.

But if the abscess reaches the bones under the teeth, it can start affecting the sinuses near the bones. When this kind of sinus infection occurs, a common symptom will be intense or medium pain in your upper corner teeth.

If you are thinking that taking antibiotics will solve all the problems, then maybe you are wrong. The antibiotics can help you get relief from sinusitis, but treating the abscesses are more complicated.

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You should never ignore a tooth abscess or toothache. It can be a sign that you have sinusitis as well as it can even cause heart diseases.

When your sinus infection is caused by tooth infection it is called Maxillary Sinusitis of Endodontic Origin (MSEO). Sometimes a root canal or extracting the tooth that is infected can be necessary.

Tooth Abscess Image

How can you tell the difference between a sinus infection and a tooth Infection?

As the symptoms are quite similar for these infections, you need to be extra careful. But luckily, there are some symptoms that can be different for a tooth abscess and sinus infection.

Symptoms that indicate the presence of tooth abscess are:

  • Sudden and intense pain.
  • Pain mostly in one or two teeth.
  • Swelling of the gum or mouth.
  • Redness can be coupled with swelling.
  • A discolored or loose tooth.
  • Extreme sensitivity to biting or cold.
  • Fever and a foul taste inside the mouth.

Symptoms that indicate the existence of sinus infection are:

  • A pain that is continuous but not noticeable.
  • Having fever or cough consistently.
  • Congested nose or a runny nose.
  • Pain felt in more than one tooth.
  • Intensified pain when sitting or jumping.
  • Unbearable earache or headache.
  • No sensitivity to cold or biting.

Dental sinus infection symptoms

Sinus infection image

When an anomalous channel inside your mouth drains from a persistent abscess that originated from a dead or almost dead tooth is called dental sinus.

If someone has a history of past tooth infections and root canal, there is a chance that it will happen again. And this time it can be more dangerous than before.

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So, if you feel intense or continuous pain in your mouth, consult with your dentist. If the pain goes away after some time, it may be because of some kind of irritation.

But if the pain remains for more than 24 hour or even two to three days, it can be a dental sinus. So, look out for the common symptoms. They are –

  • Swelling of your face.
  • Pain while swallowing.
  • Impaired sense of smell.
  • Pain while eating cold or hot foods.
  • Fever or consistent cough.
  • Intense pain in upper molars.


Sinus infection and tooth abscess can be very similar. And their symptoms are also overlapping. That’s why, you need to be careful whenever there is a dull or intense pain in your mouth.

And tooth abscesses can also cause some other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease. It can even reach the brain. There are cases like these where people died from a tooth abscess or sinus infection.

So, take care of your dental health and do not forget to visit the dentist occasionally.