General Dentistry

Can a Root Canal Cause a Sinus Infection?

A root canal is a common restorative treatment that is performed on patients who have infected dental pulp. However, after receiving a root canal, some patients may start to experience symptoms that seem like a sinus infection (sinusitis). 

Could a root canal be causing a sinus infection? Read on in this blog from Thrive Family Dental to find out why root canals can’t cause sinus infections and what the true cause of your symptoms could be.

Sinus Communication Can Be Mistaken for Sinus Infection

Root canals performed in the upper teeth are located very close to your sinus membrane. This is why, particularly for root canals performed in the upper arch of your teeth, you may experience something known as sinus communication.

Sinus communication is an accidental complication that can happen during root canal treatment, where a puncture is made in your sinus lining during the cleaning process. This can leave a tiny hole in your sinuses which causes symptoms that are similar to a sinus infection but are not causing a sinus infection. 

These symptoms include a runny nose or post-nasal drip, pain or pressure in the sinuses, nasal congestion, and the sensation of air across your tooth’s socket when you breathe. You may also experience liquid going into your nose when you are drinking. 

These last two symptoms can differentiate a sinus infection from sinus communication because these are not symptoms that would be present in sinusitis. This usually heals without any need for medical intervention, as long as the hole isn’t large.

Why Root Canals Don’t Cause Sinus Infections

First, let’s set the record straight – root canals cannot cause sinus infections. Sinusitis or a sinus infection is caused by bacteria entering your sinuses. Meanwhile, a root canal procedure is designed to remove bacteria from the inside of your tooth. 

Because we are disinfecting your tooth, this would not spread bacteria into your sinuses. However, an active tooth infection so close to your sinuses can enter your sinuses if the root canal is unsuccessful. 

Root canals have a 95% success rate so a failed root canal is rare, but in the case that a root canal does fail, the bacteria from your tooth infection can spread to your sinuses during the cleaning process. In most cases, it is actually more likely that the sinus infection was present before the root canal procedure ever took place. If you experience severe pain 

Need Root Canal Therapy? Schedule a Consultation Today!

A root canal treatment is highly effective at saving a tooth from extraction. If you have a tooth infection, you should seek treatment right away. Without treatment, the infection will spread to your other teeth and into your bloodstream, which can be dangerous. Contact us at Thrive Family Dental today to schedule a consultation with our dentists in Wilmington.

Do you have a question? Contact us now!

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