Odontogenic sinusitis: developments in diagnosis, microbiology, and treatment

Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Feb;26(1):27-33. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000430.


Purpose of review: Odontogenic causes of sinusitis are frequently missed; clinicians often overlook odontogenic disease whenever examining individuals with symptomatic rhinosinusitis. Conventional treatments for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) will often fail in odontogenic sinusitis. There have been several recent developments in the understanding of mechanisms, diagnosis, and treatment of odontogenic sinusitis, and clinicians should be aware of these advances to best treat this patient population.

Recent findings: The majority of odontogenic disease is caused by periodontitis and iatrogenesis. Notably, dental pain or dental hypersensitivity is very commonly absent in odontogenic sinusitis, and symptoms are very similar to those seen in CRS overall. Unilaterality of nasal obstruction and foul nasal drainage are most suggestive of odontogenic sinusitis, but computed tomography is the gold standard for diagnosis. Conventional panoramic radiographs are very poorly suited to rule out odontogenic sinusitis, and cannot be relied on to identify disease. There does not appear to be an optimal sequence of treatment for odontogenic sinusitis; the dental source should be addressed and ESS is frequently also necessary to alleviate symptoms.

Summary: Odontogenic sinusitis has distinct pathophysiology, diagnostic considerations, microbiology, and treatment strategies whenever compared with chronic rhinosinusitis. Clinicians who can accurately identify odontogenic sources can increase efficacy of medical and surgical treatments and improve patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography / methods
  • Female
  • Focal Infection, Dental / diagnostic imaging*
  • Focal Infection, Dental / microbiology
  • Focal Infection, Dental / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maxillary Sinusitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Maxillary Sinusitis / microbiology
  • Maxillary Sinusitis / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography, Dental
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surgery, Oral / methods
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents