After my dentist removed a top left molar, my dentist told me that the tooth root was in the sinus and infected. He also prescribed antibiotics for a week. I finished the antibiotics, but now I have sinus pressure, draining, and some facial and gum pain. Decongestant is not helping.
My dentist said that he would not replace the tooth with an implant until the sinus infection clears. Before I call my dentist about the infection, should I ask for a different antibiotic? How long should I expect this to take? Thank you. Asad from Georgia
Thank you for your question. Although Dr. Thomas would need to examine your tooth and x-ray for an accurate diagnosis, we will answer some general questions about a sinus perforation and infection.
What Causes a Sinus Infection After Tooth Extraction?
A sinus infection after tooth extraction can occur because of the location of your tooth roots. Consider these factors:
- Upper molar roots are close to the sinuses.
- Sometimes, only a thin membrane separates the tooth roots and sinus.
- When your dentist removes the tooth, can break and cause a sinus perforation.
What Is the Treatment for a Sinus Perforation?
A dentist must close a sinus infection with these steps:
- Insert a gelatin sponge in the space
- Apply bone grafting material as needed
- Stitch the opening closed.
Afterward, the area needs time to heal. So you would avoid blowing your nose or touching the area. Also, you must take an antibiotic to get rid of any infection present. If you take the antibiotics, but the infection lingers, your dentist may ask you to continue taking them for a week or more. Or your dentist may choose a different antibiotic.
What Can Cause an Infection to Linger?
If you take antibiotics and the infection does not go away or lingers, a specialist can x-ray the area. The specialist will check for a bone fragment or another structure that may be lodged in your sinus and requires surgical removal.
How Long Will It Take for a Sinus Perforation to Heal?
A sinus perforation will heal in four to six weeks once the infection is controlled. But if you need bone grafting, it will heal in three to six months.
Please get in touch with your dentist to discuss whether you should continue with your current antibiotic and switch to a new one. After the issue is resolved, your dentist can begin planning for your dental implant.
Dr. Siny Thomas, a Sugar Land, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.