Robinson Township Smiles

Can a Root Canal Cause a Sinus Infection?

March 12, 2021
Posted By: Ryan Rupert

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a sinus infection after a root canal, you may be wondering if your root canal could have caused or contributed to the infection. The answer is more complicated than you may think. Read on to learn what you need to know about root canals and sinus infections from Robinson Township Smiles.


Infected Teeth Can Cause Sinus Infections


First, it’s important to note that infected teeth in the upper mouth, which require treatment with root canal therapy, may actually cause sinus infections. This is because the roots of your upper teeth are very close to your sinuses. If the infection spreads throughout the tooth, it could also reach the sinuses.


The term for this is “maxillary sinusitis of endodontic origin,” and it’s quite common. So if you are experiencing symptoms of sinusitis after a root canal, it’s possible that the infection was caused by the infected tooth, not the root canal treatment. 


Over time, your immune system will fight back against the sinus infection and eliminate it, but you may want to see your doctor if you have serious sinusitis symptoms that won’t go away. You may need antibiotics to help eliminate the infection. 


A Root Canal Won’t Cause a Sinus Infection Unless the Treatment Fails 


So, sinus infections can be caused by a tooth infection, but can they also be caused by a root canal? The short answer is “no.” The slightly longer answer is “maybe, but only if the root canal is not successful.”


That’s because a root canal is a treatment that’s used to eliminate the bacteria causing a tooth infection. The tooth is opened up, and then a dentist like Dr. Rupert will clean out and remove all of the damaged, decayed, and infected pulp.


This actually reduces your risk of a sinus infection, since the bacteria that could infect your sinuses will be removed. However, there’s a catch.


If your dentist does not fully clean out your tooth due to a hidden tooth root or another issue, bacteria may remain in the tooth root. These bacteria will continue to infect your tooth, and could eventually lead to a sinus infection if it spreads into your sinuses.


If the root canal is unsuccessful, you may continue to feel a lot of pain, sensitivity, and tenderness around the treatment area. If your pain lingers for more than a week, consider scheduling a follow-up appointment with your dentist. 


A “Sinus Communication” Could Also Be the Cause of Sinusitis-Like Symptoms 


If your sinuses felt totally normal before your root canal, but you are now experiencing symptoms like mild congestion, sinus pressure, or feelings of air rushing through the socket as you breathe, you may have a “sinus communication.”


This is a tiny opening in the sinus lining, which can be made by your dentist during the root canal process. During a root canal, the dental tools used to clean out your tooth can puncture your sinus lining, causing a sinus communication.


The good news is that this issue will go away on its own. Openings of between 1-4 millimeters will heal without any kind of surgical treatment, though larger openings may require surgical intervention. 


Need a Root Canal? Come to Robinson Township Smiles


At Robinson Township Smiles, Dr. Ryan Rupert is an experienced endodontist, with years of experience performing root canal therapy in North Fayette, Oakdale, Sewickley, and Robinson Township. 


If you need a root canal, you can trust Dr. Rupert to take great care of you, and to minimize your risk of complications like sinusitis or a sinus communication. So don’t wait. Contact us online or give us a call at (412) 859-3833 to schedule an appointment. 

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