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Dr. Phil, MD
Dr. Phil, MD, Medical Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 53184
Experience:  Medical Doctor Trained at a Top Academic Institution
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Is my cracked tooth causing my sinus problems? About 10

Customer Question

Is my cracked tooth causing my sinus problems?
About 10 months ago, I was diagnosed as having a post nasal drip cough. I've been to the Dr. 4 different times this year and nothing has helped. He's given me 3 different prescriptions and a breathing test to see if I have asthma....nothing has helped.
I've also had several bad sinus infections in the past several years. I haven't had one for a year or so, but for a while, I'd get one every year and sometimes twice a year.
I had an ear infection (right ear) in 2013 which I remember as odd because all my life I NEVER had ear infections. The same right ear was bugging me a couple of weeks ago....sore and painful. It eventually went away.
In the past few years, I've also noticed that I get more headaches....both nagging headaches and migraines.
I've always just attributed these problems to allergies. I live in a region where allergies are prevalent. Just figured these were allergy issues.
Until I recently bit into a cupcake.....
I bit into a cupcake about a week ago....I had a sprinkle hit my tooth just right and OUCH.
I have been having issues with one of my upper right teeth on and off for several years now. I'll bite into something just right...and my tooth with hurt a little and is sensitive to hot/cold for a few days, and then it would always go away. I've mentioned this (numerous time) to my dentist during a scheduled cleaning....he'd always check bitewing xrays and he'd look around, but could never find anything. He attributed the pain to a sensitive tooth. Also, I had a cavity in that area that had been previously filled....so maybe that was also part of the issue, although he said the filling looked fine and nothing else ever showed on the xray.
After the cupcake, I knew something had to be wrong. Went back to the dentist. He starts with a full xray, and then she starts scraping and poking around that tooth. I told him, "none of that hurts, but I guarantee you if i touch it and push on it, it will hurt" So he said, "go ahead and do that". When I did, he said, "that's the one behind it....that's the #4 not the #5" So basically, he had been focused on the wrong tooth the whole time. He injected dye, and immediately found a bad crack on my #4 tooth. Told me it would need to be pulled and he gave me a prescription for penicillin for any possible infection.
As I was leaving, I saw on my chart that I had first complained about this tooth in April of 2009. Almost 7 years ago!!!! And I'm sure, it was probably bugging me for a good 6 months or more before I finally went to the dentist....so it's probably been 7-8 years of having this cracked tooth.
So now.....finally realizing that this tooth is cracked, and I think has been cracked for years, and probably infected, could this have been my culprit all along? The more I think about it, and the more I read different articles on the internet, the more it makes PERFECT sense.
After just 2nd day of taking the penicillin, I could feel the whole right side of my face open up. I'm breathing better now than I have in quite some time....I can't even remember when. Probably after one of my sinus infections when I was on another antibiotic. 2 days taking penicillin has done more than the 3 presciptions for allergies combined.
Has anyone had similar issues? Any suggestions? Now I'm wondering how my sinuses could be effected? Should I request a referral to an ENT? Is there a way to scan the sinuses to check for any signs supporting my theory?
I'm having my tooth pulled next month....that was the earliest I could get in. I've already scheduled another appointment with my regular Dr. in 2 days to let him know about my tooth. I want to get my history of sinus infections with dates and have a historical outline that I can pass to the oral surgeon. I also want to check with my Dr. that my 4 prescriptions are all compatible.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

any other medical issues?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had asthma as a child that I basically outgrew around puberty. I also have seasonal allergies. My doctor recently had me perform a breathing test to see if I still had some asthma since I have been complaining about shortness of breath due to this "post nasal drip cough" I have recently developed. I did well on the test and have "above average" lung capacity/function.
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

your suggestions are exactly correct. you need to see an ENT doctor and have a CAT Scan of the sinuses.

you probably have chronic sinusitis (inflammation/infection) in the sinuses and the cracked tooth

Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

Thanks please don't forget a positive rating. I appreciate it

If you have more questions, just reply :)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'll be honest, all sorts of thoughts are racing through my head the more I think about this tooth. I'm wondering what other issues this could have caused. I had a very odd burning sensation under my right arm about a week or two ago that lasted about 10 days before it went away. From time to time (maybe a couple of times per year), I've also had what I think are swollen lymph nodes in and around my arm pit. They are painful for a few days.....then they go away. I've also mentioned this to my doctor in the past, and he mentioned that they could be caused by reactions to different deodorants. So when my arm was burning a week or two ago, I thought it was also from my deodorant.....Could these issues also be related side effects of an infected tooth?Needless to say, I can't wait to get this tooth pulled......I'm also flying to Hawaii in 3 weeks from the east coast (unfortunately this trip will be BEFORE I will have the tooth pulled). Any suggestions for traveling? I've read that flying and the change in air pressure can aggravate an infected tooth....I have an appointment this afternoon with my "regular" doctor. So I will also check with him also, but I sincerely ***** ***** additional feedback. This is a very frustrating situation as I feel like I've dealt with this issue longer than I should have and now I'm wondering what else could have been explained by this tooth. I've been complaining of tooth pain for 7 years to my dentist, and in that same span of time, I began having frequent sinus infections (I really don't think I ever had a sinus infection or ear infection in my life prior to this tooth bothering me) an ear infection and now post nasal drip. I guess it's frustrating that I had to come up with this conclusion on my own. Thank goodness for the internet.
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

any more questions?

Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

I see no issues with flying other than a decongestant like loratadine might help

Also, I don't think those problems are related to the tooth

Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 1 year ago.

please don't forget a positive rating.

if you have more questions, just reply