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Aust Dent J. 2014 Sep;59(3):289-95. doi: 10.1111/adj.12193. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Rhinosinusitis in oral medicine and dentistry.

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  • Marfleet Primary Healthcare Centre, Hull, United Kingdom.


Rhinosinusitis is a very common condition which is normally readily recognizable. Given the intimate anatomic relationship between the antrum and the posterior maxillary teeth, maxillary sinusitis can present as odontalgia. Distinguishing between odontogenic orofacial pain and pain associated with maxillary sinusitis is important to prevent unnecessary dental intervention and to direct patients to medical colleagues. Conversely, odontogenic infection can spread to involve the antrum, termed odontogenic sinusitis, or maxillary sinusitis of dental origin. Odontogenic sinusitis accounts for about 10-40% of all cases of sinusitis, and usually requires combined dental and medical treatment. Maxillary sinusitis can also be a complication of exodontia, resulting from tuberosity fractures, displaced teeth or root fragments and the creation of oroantral communications and fistulae. Dental implants and endodontic materials can also impinge on the maxillary sinus, and are rare causes of sinusitis. Often it is stated that rhinosinusitis may contribute to a halitosis complaint, and widely used diagnostic protocols for rhinosinusitis sometimes list halitosis as a minor criterion. However, gold standards in halitotosis research such as organoleptic assessment or gas chromatography have not been used to validate a correlation between objective (genuine) halitosis and sinusitis. The pathophysiology of this mechanism is unclear, and the relative importance of this alongside other causes of extraoral halitosis is debated.

© 2014 Australian Dental Association.


Halitosis; maxillary sinusitis; odontogenic sinusitis; oronantral communication; rhinosinusitis; sinusitis

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