If you’ve ever lost an adult tooth, naturally or through an extraction, you’re not alone. In fact, according to prosthodontists, there are over 35 million Americans who don’t have teeth in one or both jaws. For various reasons, dentists may decide to remove a tooth. Whether it’s because of wisdom teeth concerns, an impacted canine tooth, or another dental problem, tooth extractions are extremely common. But like with most procedures, there are concerns when it comes time to remove a tooth. One common concern is whether tooth extractions can impact sinuses and nasal passages.

Your sinuses are located directly above your upper teeth. Due to the location of your sinuses, there is the possibility of there being issues with sinuses when an upper tooth is removed. It is important to note that the location of the sinus floor can vary from person to person. One person may have a sinus floor that is way above their tooth roots while another person may have a closer sinus floor. For those people who have sinuses that are close to touching their tooth roots, there is the possibility of their sinuses being harmed during a tooth extraction.

Because of the possible closeness of the sinus floor and the tooth roots, oral surgeons need to be especially careful when removing upper teeth. Undiagnosed sinus perforations can lead to infections and sinus drainage, both of which are more than unpleasant. Fortunately, a sinus perforation can easily be avoided.

Using x-rays, oral surgeons can easily see how close the sinus floor is to the tooth roots. If the sinus floor is too close for comfort, the dentist may suggest a sinus lift. During the extraction procedure, the surgeon will take necessary precautions to ensure the sinus is protected.

If a sinus does become damaged or exposed during a tooth extraction, the patient may experience symptoms like:

  • Periodic nose bleeding from the extraction site
  • Liquid coming out of the nose when drinking
  • Air going from the nose to the mouth when breathing

If an exposed sinus is detecting, the oral surgeon will close the site and the patient is generally given antibiotics to prevent infection during the healing process.

While there is a chance of sinuses being damaged during tooth extractions, experienced oral surgeons are aware of how to protect the sinuses when it comes time to remove a tooth. By choosing the right oral surgeon, you can rest assured your procedure will go as planned.