Situated behind the cheek bones just above the teeth, maxillary sinuses drain into the nostrils through an opening in the sinus wall. When these sinuses become clogged and fill up with liquid that becomes infected, it is called a maxillary sinus infection. This is often characterized by symptoms such as pain, fever, congestion, and pressure under the eyes. If the sinusitis clears up in less than a month, it is considered acute sinusitis. However, if the condition lasts for more than two months, it is considered chronic sinusitis.
A maxillary sinus infection may be caused by a variety of factors, such as a viral infection, allergy, or tumor. Also, sinusitis may be brought on by an infection in the gums or teeth. An anatomical condition such as a deviated septum may also be the culprit for maxillary sinusitis. If the septum, the membrane that divides the nostrils, is not straight, it creates an obstruction in the nasal passage. This blockage causes poor ventilation, which prevents the sinuses from draining properly.
Having a maxillary sinus infection may be uncomfortable, as the areas around the cheekbone, eyes, and upper teeth will be sore. Cheeks also will appear red and swollen. A person will experience pain when keeping his head upright, but if he reclines, the pain will lessen. During a maxillary sinus infection, a person will often experience coughing at night, runny nose, and sometimes a toothache.
Treating a sinus infection revolves around lowering swelling, eliminating infection, and draining the sinuses. Swelling can be diminished with nasal and oral decongestants, which aid in clearing up nasal blockages. A nasal decongestant may work within a minute and an oral decongestant may take effect within 15 minutes. After extended use, however, decongestants become less efficient for treatment.
Antibiotics are also effective in treating sinus infections. Antibiotics lower the risk for chronic sinusitis and also deter complications from arising. Amoxicillin is one of the most common antibiotics prescribed to treat sinus infections. Methods to drain the sinuses include inhaling steam, or taking pain relievers or antihistamines. In cases where medication is ineffective, surgery may be required.
It is important to get treatment for a maxillary sinus infection. If no action is taken, complications can lead to severe medical conditions, even death. An individual should get medical treatment once pain or pressure in the face is followed by a runny nose. When a person suffers from personality changes, headaches, or seizures, it is an indication that the infection may have reached the brain.