Most tooth extractions will go off without a hitch, but there are some problems that can occur. One of these is a perforation of the sinus. Your sinuses are in charge of keeping your nose moist and your head from feeling too heavy; unfortunately, one of the sinus pathways runs quite close to the roots of the teeth in your upper jaw.
When one of those upper teeth has to be removed, it is possible for the thin section of bone that serves as a boundary between the root and the sinus to break. This is especially likely to occur if the root is slightly curved since these teeth will require more force in order to be extracted. A piece of bone separating the sinus from the root may be broken off at the same time, essentially making a direct connection between the mouth and the sinus.
The Problems of Sinus Perforation
This is problematic since your mouth is full of bacteria. This is natural, and proper oral hygiene can make sure that your mouth doesn't suffer. However, sinuses are not meant to be open to such bacteria, so infection can often occur as a result of perforation.
Infection is quite rare, but you may find that you're experiencing pain in the mouth and nose, with swelling possibly occurring at the same time. You may also experience headaches. Though it sounds slightly odd, the best way to test for sinus perforation after the extraction of a tooth is to try and suck up a drink through a straw. If you find this hard or cannot do it at all, it is likely that the perforation is making it impossible to form a vacuum within your mouth.
The Treatment of Sinus Perforation
This all probably sounds very serious, and it can be. However, most perforations are quite small, so a dentist will be able to pack the socket with special material that accelerates the growth of tissue. This will cover the perforation. In more extreme cases, a bone graft or sutures will be used to help speed that process up.
While the perforation is healing, you will need to resist placing any pressure on the clot.
Sinus perforation isn't something that should put you off having a tooth extracted if your dentist tells you that that tooth should come out, but it is something that you should be aware of. If you think that a sinus might have been perforated, make sure you contact an emergency dentist as soon as possible.