Blow nose, drink water - experience great tooth pain
January 7, 2009 8:07 AM   Subscribe

My wife has a funny combo, if she blows her nose, then drinks cold water she gets major pain in one of her teeth (upper row, mid way back) She also gets a similar pain when descending in an airplane - doesn't happen every time but enough times to be nervous on descent. She describes the pain as though someone is ripping out her tooth. Anyone get this or know what it may be? Probably a trip to the dentist would uncover the secret, but I was looking for a mefi preview.
posted by royalchinook to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could be tooth sensitivity between her upper teeth and sinuses. I get toothaches every time I have a cold because my sinuses are draining/battling right above/around my tooth area. Airplane = air pressure change = sinus pressure. Same with temperature.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:16 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Sounds like she might have a problem with the tooth root. Temperature and pressure changes sometimes will irritate roots that are either infected or inflamed.
posted by rand at 8:16 AM on January 7, 2009

Is there a filling in the vicinity of this tooth pain? When I was taking my scuba classes I was told a phenomenon called "Tooth Squeeze". It's basically when someone has a filling that's no longer perfect (or was never perfect to begin with, depending on the dentist) and has a little air space inside. The air contracts and expands as you change depths, because of pressure changes, resulting in pain. Our instructor told us the only way to fix it was to go to a great dentist and get it redone. Perhaps this is close to what's going with your wife's tooth?
posted by LunaticFringe at 8:22 AM on January 7, 2009

I've had a problem like this. Doctor diagnosed it as sinus infection.
posted by mikeand1 at 8:36 AM on January 7, 2009

Your sinuses, ears, and jaw are awful close to each other, and sometimes things are all close enough in there to do weird things. My mother once had the same issue (I remember her grumbling one morning when I was a kid that "every time I blow my nose, my teeth hurt"). I don't have that specific issue, but I do have a similar one -- sometimes severe sinus congestion tinkers with my equilibrium to the point that I feel like I have a beer buzz. My father is the same way (he drove his doctor crazy asking for emergency EKG's several winters in a row becuase he was getting dizzy spells and thought he was having heart attacks).

Sinus pressure can do a lot more than you think; it sounds like this is what's going on.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:40 AM on January 7, 2009

Upper molar roots often intrude into or lay very near the bottom of the sinus cavity. This can cause tooth pain when the sinus swells during an infection, creating greater pressure on the roots. I only know this because I had an upper molar extracted and ended up having to have a hole in my sinus floor repaired after the tooth was gone.
posted by jamaro at 8:41 AM on January 7, 2009

Yep, sinus infections sometimes make my back teeth hurt. So the changing sinus pressure is probably doing the same to her.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 9:15 AM on January 7, 2009

Upper molars (especially wisdom teeth) can actually poke into the sinus cavity. I'd suggest going to a dentist, getting some xrays, and asking them about the area around the sinus cavity.
posted by phrakture at 9:30 AM on January 7, 2009

It certainly sounds sinus-related. She should see her doctor, who will likely schedule a C.T. scan. It's probably not anything serious.
posted by paulg at 11:21 AM on January 7, 2009

There is a nerve in your face close to both the sinuses and the teeth, such that it is not uncommon for people with sinus congestion who travel on an airplane to feel their teeth and gums go numb. This is because the pressue change from traveling exacerbates the already swolllen sinus and in compresses the nerve. I can't remember the name of the nerve, but it's possible that a nerve from a tooth may suffer under similar pressure changes.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:16 PM on January 7, 2009

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