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Sinus Problems After a Root Canal? What Could It Mean?

If you’re feeling stuffy and having sinus problems after a root canal, you may be wondering what’s wrong. Is it normal to have sinus issues after your treatment? Does it mean that something has gone wrong? Do you need to see a dentist?

Get answers to all of these questions and more below. Golden Gate Dental will look at the basics of sinus problems after a root canal, and help you understand what the issue might be.

1. Your Infected Tooth Caused a Sinus Infection

If you were experiencing minor sinus problems before you got a root canal, it’s possible that your sinus issues were actually caused by your infected tooth. This is quite common, and it’s known as “sinusitis of endodontic origin.”

If one of your upper teeth is seriously infected, there is likely quite a bit of bacteria at the root of the tooth. The roots of the upper teeth are very close to the sinus lining and sinus cavity. In severe cases of infection, the underlying bone can break down, allowing the bacteria to spread into the sinus cavity. This, in turn, causes sinusitis. 

If you are not feeling any pain or discomfort in your tooth, but you are experiencing sinus infection-like symptoms, this could be the cause of your issue. However, you should still see a doctor if these symptoms persist for more than a week. 

2. Your Dentist May Have Opened a “Sinus Communication”

This is another common cause of sinus problems after a root canal. As we already mentioned, the roots of the upper teeth are very close to the sinus lining. Since a root canal involves using metal tools to remove bacteria and clean the roots of the teeth, it’s sometimes possible for your dentist to create a small hole in the sinus lining during treatment.

This is called a “sinus communication.” This usually results in symptoms like a runny nose and post-nasal drip, congestion and sinus pressure, and sinus pain. It’s usually not severe and will heal on its own. 

Again, though, it is important to see a dentist or doctor if your pain or discomfort doesn’t get better after a week or two, or gets worse. 

3. The Tooth May Still Be Infected & Need Endodontic Retreatment

If you are experiencing severe symptoms of sinusitis and your tooth still hurts, it’s possible that your tooth may not have been properly cleaned during the root canal process, and it may continue to progress and cause sinusitis. 

Most root canals are successful, but hidden problems with a tooth can occasionally mean that your dentist might not be able to fully clean it and remove the infection. You may need to see a dentist for endodontic retreatment. In severe cases, the root of the tooth may need to be removed with an apicoectomy. 

Come to Golden Gate Dental for Root Canal Therapy in San Francisco 

If you need a root canal in San Francisco or Golden Gate Park, Dr. Inessa Sosis is here to help. As an experienced root canal dentist, Dr. Sosis can ensure the best possible results, and minimize complications during treatment. Contact us at (415) 367-3444 to get started, or stop by our office near Golden Gate Park at 3200 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94118.