Caregiver's Home Companion Free captioning phone for those with hearing loss.
 SEARCH Go
Read Fred's Previous Articles

April 6, 2012
Question for Aging Men: Will Testosterone Spark Virility?


March 30, 2012
Is Dad Still Road-Worthy – Or Is It Time to Take the Keys?


March 23, 2012
Coping and Recovering from Knee Replacement


March 16, 2012
Lactose Intolerance May Not Spell Osteoporosis


Take Our PollThe Caregiver's Marketplace

Shop Now in the
Caregiver's e-Mall

Our Caregiver's e-Mall is filling up with great stores and a growing number of items just in time for the holidays. Whether you browse and find a book or tape to help you with caregiving, or come across a wonderful gift for a friend or family member, the e-Mall can be your source for easy shopping and gift-giving.

So, click on the dark blue Caregiver's e-Mall buttons throughout our site and enter a comfortable, secure shopping experience with major merchants while avoiding the hassle of having to find a parking place or matching your shopping hours with someone else's. Our mall is just a click away and is open 24 hours every day.

Watch for additional stores opening in the e-Mall soon!

Posted: November 20, 2009

Keeping Seniors Healthy

That Toothache May Be a Sinus Problem

Q. A friend told me that sinusitis could be causing a mild toothache my dad had, so I had him wait a while before seeking care. Well, when his sinuses cleared, the tooth pain disappeared. Was my friend right?

A. I can write from personal experience on this one. I had a bad toothache that sent me to my dentist. He did some x-rays and could find nothing wrong. He asked me about my sinuses, and I told him I was fighting an infection. Bingo!

Yes, infection in the sinuses located in your cheekbones can cause your upper jaw and teeth to ache, and your cheeks to become tender to the touch. Sinusitis is a nasty malady that can do much more than give you a toothache.

Sinusitis, which is infection or inflammation of the sinuses, creates suffering for about 37 million Americans every year.

The sinuses are four pairs of cavities: the frontal sinuses over the eyes, maxillary sinuses inside each cheekbone, ethmoid sinuses just behind the bridge of the nose, and sphenoid sinuses behind the ethmoids. Each sinus is connected to the nose.

Acute sinusitis lasts for 4 weeks or less. Sub-acute sinusitis runs 4 to 8 weeks. Chronic sinusitis can continue for years. Recurrent sinusitis includes several acute attacks within a year.

Unlike sinusitis, a common cold usually goes away without treatment in about 10 days. So, if you have what feels like a bad cold for longer than 10 days, go to your doctor for a check-up.

Most cases of acute sinusitis start with a cold or allergy attack, which inflames the mucous membranes of the sinuses. Swelling traps air and mucus in the sinuses and they cannot drain properly. The trapped mucus creates ideal conditions for bacteria to grow.

Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may be less severe than those of acute sinusitis. However, untreated chronic sinusitis can cause damage to the sinuses and cheekbones that sometimes requires surgery to repair.

Most people with sinusitis have pain or tenderness. Other symptoms of sinusitis can include fever, weakness, fatigue, nasal congestion, cough and sore throat.

If you have acute sinusitis, your doctor may prescribe decongestants, antibiotics and pain relievers. Many cases of acute sinusitis will end without antibiotics.

Many health care providers treat chronic sinusitis as though it is an infection, by using antibiotics and decongestants. Others use both antibiotics with steroid nasal sprays. Further research is needed to determine the best treatment.

When medical treatment fails, surgery may be the only alternative for treating chronic sinusitis. The most common surgery done today is functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) to enlarge the natural openings and allow drainage.

FESS is less invasive than conventional sinus surgery. With the endoscope, the surgeon can look directly into the nose while clearing the narrow channels between the sinuses. This type of surgery can be done under local or general anesthesia.

One worthwhile way to help keep your sinuses clear is to use an over-the-counter saltwater nasal wash every day. Most pharmacies carry them. They help remove mucus and bacteria from the nose and sinuses. I use one myself, and it has been beneficial.


Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey. He has written two published novels: Saltwater Taffy, and Local Angles. You can send your health-related questions to Fred at fred@healthygeezer.com.

© 2009 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.
Search CaregiversHome
Find with keyword(s):

Enter a keyword or phrase to search CaregiversHome's archives for related news topics, the latest news stories, timely times, and reference articles.

Email or share this story Bookmark and Share

Back to Top


Discount Prescription Card

Free Survival Guide

Privacy Statement Contact Us Site Map Products & Services Our Partners Advertise
© Copyright 2003-2019. Pederson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.