2 Ways Your Sinus Can Interact With Your Oral Health

Posted on: 6 August 2015

When you think about anatomy that interacts with the health of your teeth, you likely picture your gums, soft tissue, tongue, or even lips. But did you picture your sinus?

The maxillary sinus canal passes above your upper jawbone. So problems or treatment needs on the upper jaw can sometimes interfere or interact with the sinus. These interactions can include the sinus getting in the way of a potential dental implant or an oral infection spreading on to the sinus -- and possibly throughout the body.

Here are a couple of the ways your sinus can interact with your oral health and how your dentist can help.

Dental Implant Requires Sinus Lift

If you lost a tooth recently, you might be considering a dental implant as a replacement. An implant is an artificial tooth that snaps onto a metal screw implanted in the jawbone. The bone provides an excellent anchor for the implant and keeps it from moving around while you eat or speak.

But dental implants in the upper jaw might not have enough room due to the position of the sinus cavity. You don't want the dentist to puncture the sinus with that metal screw. Instead, the dentist will likely recommend a sinus lift.

In a sinus lift, the dentist will cut into the gums in the area where the dental implant will soon reside. The dentist will then cut a hole in the bone to access the sinus, push up the sinus cavity manually, and then use bone graft fragments to stuff around the cavity to hold it into place. The gums are then stitched closed and you are allowed to heal until the bone graft and existing jawbone fuse together.

Your dental implant procedure can begin once that fusion happen. And the newly taller jawbone will prevent the sinus cavity from slipping back down.

Talk with a dentist at a clinic like All Denture Dental Clinic if you have specific questions about the dental implant procedure.

Tooth Abscess Leads to Sinus Infection

Oral infections arise from plaque bacteria that builds up in the mouth often due to poor oral healthcare routines. Sometimes the root of a tooth becomes so infected that a pus-filled sac forms in the gums next to the tooth. The sac is a sign of a tooth abscess.

Left untreated, the infection's pus can burrow through the jawbone and form a fistula or channel. If this fistula forms in the upper jawbone, the channel can end right at your sinus cavity. The infectious material is now free to move out of your mouth and into your sinus, which will make your symptoms worse and more varied.

But there's more to worry about. Spreading to the sinus cavity also means that the cavity can spread the infection throughout your head. And traveling through your head also means a risk of passing into the bloodstream. So it's best to catch an abscess early before it gets to the sinus.

Your dentist can clear up the abscess with antibiotics, a deep cleaning, and draining the sac. If your sinus was already affected, the antibiotics should take care of the infection that spread there.