Diagnostic Criteria for Odontogenic Sinusitis: A Systematic Review

Fabiana Allevi, Gian Luca Fadda, Cecilia Rosso, Federica Martino, Carlotta Pipolo, Giovanni Cavallo, Giovanni Felisati, Alberto Maria Saibene

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Odontogenic sinusitis affects a significant proportion of patients with paranasal sinus infections. Nevertheless, no shared diagnostic criteria for this condition have yet been implemented and published studies differ in their definition of the disease. Objective: The present systematic review of the literature was undertaken to characterize and analyze the different diagnostic criteria currently employed for odontogenic sinusitis. Methods: Systematic searches for studies published between 2009 and 2019 were performed in Medline, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and ClinicalTrials.gov databases. Search criteria were designed to identify all studies focusing, even partially, on odontogenic sinusitis. Human original studies except single case reports published in the English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian language were included. We removed duplicate abstracts and conducted full-text reads, data extraction, and quality assessment procedures (using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine levels of evidence and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Study Quality Assessment Tools). We reviewed articles for diagnostic criteria, both in terms of definition and etiology identification. Results: Among 1,000 unique citations, 63 studies were deemed eligible. Most articles (n = 45) were retrospective case series; a single randomized clinical trial was available. Only 49 studies reported diagnostic criteria, yet relied marginally on published guidelines (n = 10 articles) for identifying sinusitis, often choosing instead to develop their own clinical (n = 15 articles), endoscopic (n = 12 articles), and/or radiologic (n = 30 articles) criteria. For odontogenic focus identification, 14 papers required a multidisciplinary evaluation, 11 papers required a time relationship between dental procedures and sinusitis, 24 papers required oroscopy and/or dental evaluation, and 53 papers required computed tomography. Conclusions: Current diagnostic criteria for odontogenic sinusitis are extremely heterogeneous. Establishing shared diagnostic criteria aimed at defining both sinusitis and related odontogenic foci would spur collaboration between investigators and support more comprehensive outcomes evaluations together with a better understanding of treatment options.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-721
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • computed tomography
  • cone beam computed tomography
  • dental disease
  • dental implants
  • endoscopy
  • guidelines
  • maxillary sinus
  • paranasal sinus
  • rhinosinusitis grafting maxillary sinus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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