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HomeAnswersOtolaryngology (E.N.T)dysphagiaI have tonsillitis with pain in jawline and swallowing difficulty. Why?

Can tonsillitis cause jaw and teeth pain?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Vinodhini J.

Published At March 11, 2020
Reviewed AtDecember 1, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have been experiencing oral pain for quite some time now. And I was wondering if tonsillitis might have effected my jaw somehow, more my teeth than the jaw. I see an ENT tomorrow, but does, in the meantime, saltwater gargle help reduce some swelling. I am currently taking Clindamycin, Tylenol with codeine, Culturelle, Multivitamin, and Vitamin D3. I have done a CT scan and MRI. MRI showed cysts.

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Warm saline gargles do help to reduce swelling and inflammation. You may do it till you see your ENT tomorrow. Meanwhile, tonsillitis will not cause jaw pain, however, if frequent tonsillitis occurs, it may cause swelling up of lymph nodes below your jaw, which may be the cause of pain. In your CT scan report (attachment removed to protect patient identity), it is mentioned that you have some sinus inflammation. Sinus inflammation, especially in the maxillary sinuses, may cause pain in the face and also pressure feeling in the upper jaw. Probably you may be noticing that. Meanwhile, for a better understanding of the condition, I want some more details regarding the problem. When and how it started? Does it cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing? Any pain while swallowing? Any fever any visible swelling in the neck, any point of tenderness anywhere on the jaw? Any thick nasal discharge, and running nose or nose block? Any decrease in sense of smell, etc?

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

It started out as a problem with my jawline. I thought it was a toothache. It probably was. This has been going on for close to three months now. There is some difficulty swallowing and some difficulty breathing, but not too bad yet. I have been having increasing bouts of coughing like I want to throw up, but it is usually saliva or mucus. Some feverishness, especially recently, some nasal discharge, my left nostril is blocked I think by the cyst. And right now, not too much decrease in sense of smell.

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The symptoms you say seem to suggest sinus infection. Sinusitis can also result in vague toothache and nose block. If you can attach the CT scan films it will be helpful. I want to assess the mucocele that they have reported in the left ethmoidal sinuses. However, the ethmoidal region is close to the eye rather than the jaw or teeth. Also, the cyst they are talking is in the right maxillary sinus laterally (towards the ear), so unless the cyst is really big there are less chances of it causing nose block. The narrowing of ostiomeatal complexes can result in sino-nasal inflammation, constant post nasal drip causing throat pain and upper respiratory tract irritation and coughing. The postnasal drip gets produced due to the accumulation of secretions in the sinuses which are not drained sufficiently due to the blockage in ostiomeatal complexes. We need to assess the severity of inflammation, check using a nasal endoscopy to see the congestion and blockage. If severe you may need a minor surgical intervention to ensure adequate functional ventilation and drainage of sinuses. However, if only minimal inflammation we can take care of it using intra-nasal corticosteroid sprays. I hope this helps.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

I went to the ENT, I have a surgery scheduled soon. And I was told that I have a slight nasal floor infection, but nothing can be done for it. Could that be causing me all this dental pain?

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

What surgery are they planning? Is it to improve sinus ventilation and drainage? Is it endoscopic sinus surgery? If that is the surgery it helps in removing collection and infection from sinuses and helps in good aeration and ventilation of sinuses. Did they tell you what infection is there in the nasal floor and why it cannot be cured? The floor of the nose also is the roof of oral cavity and it could cause the pain you are saying. But why it cannot be cured? Are you symptomatically better now? Have they asked for any more investigations or tests?

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

I did not know that. My doctor did not tell me that. Could the infection from the nasal floor have spread from my top teeth to my bottom teeth? Just curious. How about from my jaw to my ears, causing an ear infection like sensation? What else could be going on?

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The floor of the maxillary sinuses has the root of wisdom teeth in them. Infection of molar teeth can cause pain in the ears as well as infection of sinuses. Pain in the ear is due to referred pain, since the jaw, oral cavity and ear have a same nerve supply. Perhaps you may discuss with the operating surgeon all the doubts you have so that there is no confusion. Endoscopic sinus surgery is a safe operation and it clears sinus problems very well. If that is indeed the operation being planned for you. We do the surgery routinely in our set up.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

I had all my wisdom teeth removed years back. Can the disease of the sinus spread from the left side to the right? When the pain first started, I thought I had a tooth infection, but I had been wrong. I think, all along, it has been my ethmoid sinus cyst. Can the infection spread from the left side to the right? Can it affect the eyes? Will it get better once I get the surgery done?

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The infection usually does not spread from the left to right. In some cases, where there is any functional disorder affecting your sino-nasal epithelium the infection may seem to spread from one side to other, whereas in reality, the infection might be developing in both simultaneously. Ethmoid sinus is very close to the eye of the same side and infection in ethmoid can cause eye problems if it is complicating. It has been noted in your radiology report that the wall separating the eye from ethmoid sinus, the lamina papyracea is deficient in two areas. This could be due to the disease itself or maybe present congenitally in you. We must be careful while clearing disease in the ethmoids as it is very close to the eyes. Of course, the surgery will remove the cyst or mucocele and ensure ventilation and drainage of the sinus in the picture. Surgery is done to remove the existing disease and prevent any further complications from occurring. Do revert back for further support.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N

Otolaryngology (E.N.T)

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