Infections of the Para-nasal Sinus

Watch Dental Video about Para-nasal Sinus Infections

Para-nasal sinus infection (Latin: sinusitis) can be acute or chronic and is called either an acute or chronic sinusitis.

The para-nasal sinuses form a cave system within our skull around the nose area. The nasal cavities are connected to the sinuses by small passages.

There are differences between:

  • maxillary sinuses
  • frontal sinuses
  • sphenoidal sinuses
  • and ethmoidal cells


- more about this in the video on "Paranasal Sinuses".

A mucosa infection can have many different causes which can be subdivided into three broad categories:

  • rhinogenic
  • exogenic
  • endogenic  causes

The following examples explain these mechanisms.

Rhinogenic means that the cause lies in the nose itself. For example, birth defects and nasal fractures can cause air to swirl in the nose during breathing. Such swirling can be compared to the use of a drier. Swirling can put increased strain on certain mucosa areas. The mucosa is in danger of drying up and swelling. If these processes happen close to a connecting tunnel, the drainage of that para-nasal sinus is disrupted, leading to secretion blockage and ultimately, sinusitis.

Exogenic causes include everything coming from the exterior. The inhalation of poisonous gases, pollen and some medications can cause damage to para-nasal sinus mucosa and initiate sinusitis. Even fairly abstract causes exist. For example, a bacterial blood infection after an accident can lead to bacteria distribution through the blood stream into the para-nasal mucosa. This is also called a hematogenic sinusitis.

Often times, sinusitis is actually initiated by the doctor. A bad root treatment in the upper jaw teeth can lead to a jaw cavity infection, known as sinusitis maxillaris. The roots of the upper jaw teeth reach into the jaw cavity.  Thus, a bad root treatment can lead to irritation of the jaw cavity mucosa.

Nasal Infection - Sinusitis

Nasal Infection - Sinusitis

Endogenic causes refer to everything coming from the interior, meaning causes coming from within. Certain autoimmune diseases can occur in conjunction with sinusitis.

A combination of causes is also possible. For example, teeth in your upper jaw might have received bad root treatments causing irritation of the mucosa, but your body is able to contain the infection so that you barely notice anything. Then the springtime pollen season begins and you suffer from allergies. The combination of causes results in an over-strained mucosa. Pollen and the consistent tooth irritation lead to an acute infection called acute sinusitis. After the acute phase, when you have a runny nose, facial pain, and generally do not feel well, the mucosa undergoes changes that lead to chronic sinusitis. Now the disease can develop its own dynamic, even when pollen season is over.

This is just one of thousands of imaginable scenarios. However, when supplied with an exact disease description, the doctor is usually able to determine the cause and can then begin the appropriate treatment. Obviously, the cause itself must be considered when choosing treatment. For example, if the cause was a bad root treatment, that root treatment has to be redone. Additional supporting measures can also be taken. These can include:

  • Drinking lots of water. When your skin sweats, so does your mucosa. This accelerates the self-cleansing mechanism.
  • Use decongestant nasal drops. These lead to better air circulation in the para-nasal sinuses allowing secretion to drain better.
  • Practice deep inhalation which also accelerates the self-cleansing mechanism.

Click here to see the video: Paranasal Sinus Inflammation


This post is also available in: German

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