Let’s say you recently got braces. Aside from the usual discomfort, everything seems fine. But then, something happens. You start feeling side effects similar to the common cold. You begin getting a postnasal drip and sinus issues, even as your teeth align. You then begin to wonder: could there be a relation between your braces and postnasal drip?
While it seems like the two might not seem interconnected at first glance, they’re more related than you’d expect. The sinuses, after all, are still part of your maxillofacial structure. Any changes to that structure affect the whole area. For instance, when you lose your upper molars, your sinus might sag into the area, making it hard to get dental implants. But is it possible that your braces might be responsible for your sinus issues?
As it turns out, the relation between your braces and postnasal drip might not be a coincidence after all. Because your sinuses—your maxillary sinuses, in particular—are so close to your jaw, anything that happens around the upper jaw area can affect your sinuses. Your braces might trigger something if they’re configured a certain way.
So if you’re runny down the nasal passages immediately after you got your braces, it might have something to do with how your braces were installed. But how are your braces and postnasal drip related?
Odontogenic sinusitis is sinusitis caused by dental problems
Before we understand the relationship between your braces and postnasal drip, let’s first look at what sinus issues can arise from dental issues. It’s essential to note that dental issues don’t just affect your sinuses. There’s actually a term for these types of illnesses: odontogenic, meaning originating from the tooth. Whether they’re tumors or bacterial infections, any ailment that starts with the teeth is said to be odontogenic.
Sinusitis can be caused by several factors. But more research points to odontogenic causes for it. If your upper jaw molars become infected, for instance, there’s a high chance that the infection can spread to your maxillary sinuses. In this case, an extraction might be in order. In one example, taking out those errant molars relieved a patient’s sinusitis immediately.
So what do braces have to do with this? Because the maxillary sinuses are close to the upper jaw, any disruption of the upper jaw teeth can make your sinuses more susceptible to disease. It’s understandable, then, why some people would assume that how your braces are installed could cause your sinus issues.
But that’s not entirely true. When it comes to whether your braces and postnasal drip are related, the answer is closer to the state of your dental health.
How often do you clean your braces?
It’s no secret that braces can be a hassle to clean. But before you ditch the usual brush-and-floss for a quick swish of mouthwash, consider this. Most odontogenic problems usually start with bacterial infections in the teeth. And this typically happens in the case of poor dental health.
In most cases, an abscess or an infected dental pulp in the upper molars can infiltrate the sinuses, causing the common symptoms associated with sinusitis. Which doesn’t go to say braces aren’t entirely off the hook—one improper misalignment could disrupt your sinuses. Regardless, make sure you keep to your dental health routine. And if you feel a bit of tooth pain while you’re still on braces, it’s best to consult your dentist.