U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
A 47-year-old member asked:

what is the difference between the pain caused by tooth decay, sensitive teeth and sinus pain?

6 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Herman Liem
Dentistry 37 years experience
Go see your dentist: You need to note whether it is sensitive to cold or hot and if it lingers for more than ten seconds. A small tooth decay usually is sensitive to cold but as the decay gets deeper the tooth can also be sensitive to hot and lingers for a while. Sinusitis can also cause toothache but usually it is hard to pinpoint to a tooth. Sometimes the whole back teeth are sensitive when you have sinus infection.
Dr. LaMont Gee
Dentistry 51 years experience
They feel different: Sinus pain can cause tooth pain but it usually covers broad areas, usually around back upper teeth. Sensitive teeth normally respond to hot or cold or sweet and quit hurting quickly when the irritant is removed. Tooth decay pain can feel like either of the other two, it is localized to a particular tooth and can be unrelenting and if it does fade it will do so more slowly than just sensitivity.
Dr. Thomas Stelmach
Cosmetic Dentistry 39 years experience
Similar: Pain from tooth decay is dependent on the amount of decay. If you are only getting sensitivity from the decay you are only causing dentin irritation. Sensitive teeth are sensitive by a similar mechanism. Both situations are from changes in osmotic pressure of the dentinal tubules. Sinus pain when felt in teeth is kinda like phantom limb pain. Pressure on the nerves that wire the teeth.
Dr. Jenny Sung
Pediatrics 24 years experience
A bit tricky: These 3 causes of pain can be a bit tricky to sort out sometimes. If tapping on the suspected tooth increases pain, then it is probably the tooth. Sometimes a troubled tooth causes sinus problems. Sometimes the maxillary sinus (one under your cheek bone) problem causes enough pain to feel like it's in the upper teeth. So, it is best to see your doctor and/or dentist to help sort it out.
Dr. James Wright
Dentistry 33 years experience
See A Dentist: See a dentist, as there are some evaluation methods that can be used by the dentist to determine what is causing your pain.
Dr. Richard Leaderman
Dentistry 49 years experience
Yes there is a difference. Tooth decay is usually sweet sensitive. Sensitive teeth is usually cold sensitive while sinus pain will cause the all the upper teeth on the side of the sinus infection to be painful.
Sep 23, 2012
Dr. Thomas Stelmach
Cosmetic Dentistry 39 years experience
Yes: Sensitive teeth are usually caused by exposed dentin and can happen in any tooth. Not that intense and goes away as soon as the offending source (like a cold drink) is removed. Tooth decay when it gets close to the nerve will cause more intense pain and will come and go on its own in addition to reacting to stimuli. Sinus pain often feels like a toothache - only on upper teeth usually molars.

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
$30 per visit with
membership

Similar questions

A 34-year-old member asked:

How can you tell if pain is caused by tooth decay, sensitive teeth and sinus pain?

3 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Phillip Frist
Dentistry 46 years experience
See your dentist: Decay will usually be sensitive to cold, possibly hot, and maybe sweets. Sensitive teeth as in excessive grinding will usually be sentitive to cold and sometimes pressure. Sinus pain is usually in your upper back teeth and usually tender to pressure. Bend over and touch your toes, if your head feels like it is going to explode then it's your sinus, plus probably congestion also.
A 40-year-old member asked:

Please describe to me the difference between tooth decay, sensitive teeth and sinus pain?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Comisi
Dentistry 38 years experience
Pain is pain: Tooth decay creates tooth sensitivity, sinus pain can simulate tooth pain because of the pressure placed on the main nerve that runs in the floor of the sinus cavity. Sinus pressure, creates sinus pain, which can often be mistaken for tooth pain. Tooth pain, in the upper arch, can be from sinus pressure, or from tooth decay. Your dentist can be a big help in trying to identify the source of pain.

Related questions

A 31-year-old member asked:
5 doctor answers19 doctors weighed in
A 38-year-old member asked:
5 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
A 53-year-old male asked:
3 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Personalized answers
Free
Talk to a doctor
$30 per visit with
membership
Last updated Sep 28, 2016

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.