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Dental Anesthesia

Allergic Reactions

10/12/2010

Question:

Every time I have dental work that requires a shot to numb the area of the tooth, I get sinusitus really bad. Sometimes when I have my teeth cleaned as well. Could you explain this please. I have deep sinus pockets close to the roots of my teeth on top but I had a tooth filled last Tuesday on the lower left and my sinuses have been inflammed ever since though I am gradually getting better.

Answer:

The dental nerves of the upper teeth do pass through the sinuses and there can be communication between the mouth and the sinuses, possibly leading to irritation of the sinus and discharge after dental work. A particular group of nerves, the sphenopalatine ganglion, may be stimulated to increase nasal secretions as well. Also, from other questions on this list, nasal discharge following local anesthesia in the upper jaw does occur although the exact mechanism is not clear. I am at a loss to explain local anesthesia and dental surgery on the lower jaw causing this effect. Also, I assume you don't actually have an infection of the sinuses but rather nasal discharge. 

If nitrous oxide/oxygen sedation (laughing gas) is used, this may dry out the nasal mucous membranes with increased secretions resulting. Another possibility is environmental allergy to something in the dental office. Of course, dental offices have that unique smell and this might be the most likely reason considering this occurred with work in your lower jaw. If this is problematic, you may want to consult with your dentist who might recommend an antihistamine prior to dental care.

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Response by:

Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS Steven I Ganzberg, SB, DMD, MS
Formerly, Clinical Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University