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I'm 67 and a runner. In excellent health but have had a lot of  dental problems over the years.
A couple of days ago I suddenly started having an ache around my gums above my upper rear teeth. The ache is only when I drink a hot liquid, not cold. I also have the pain after a run, not during. The pain only lasts a few minutes and then dissipates.  My dentist is out of town this weekend but by phone his staff looked at my last X-rays and showed no problems. All uppers are crowns and have had root canals. I've tapped on every tooth with ice and no problem. Could it still be a tooth problem or maybe sinus?  Also, I swam a mile in a pool 3 days ago.....could that be a causal factor? Thanks

Dear Don,

Sounds more like tooth than sinus.  Hot and cold sensitivity on a specific tooth or teeth usually indicates early infection in the tooth's nerve.  But you say you have had root canals in all your upper teeth.  So, there should be no nerves in your upper teeth to cause pain.

My guess is that you still have a nerve in one or more of your upper teeth.  Maybe you forgot, and the dentist made crowns over teeth that still had living nerves.

If all your upper teeth really did have root canals, and you're still feeling pain to hot, then there is still some small amount of nerve material left in one or more of your upper teeth.

My bet is still that there is an offending tooth nerve somewhere under your crowns.  Might even be a lower tooth nerve that's inflamed, and you're feeling it in an upper tooth.  I doubt it's your sinus (but anything is possible).  What you need now is an excellent dentist-detective.

Good luck, and let me know what you find out.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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