Can Teeth Pop Like Ears Do?

Oct 29th, 2012 | By | Category: General Dentistry, Patient Education

ToothacheAs a dentist in Richmond, Dr. Stefan Moiceanu knows well that a toothache can stem from a number of reasons, from tooth decay or diseased oral tissues to damage caused by dental trauma. In some cases, such as a sinus infection, the cause of your tooth discomfort may not be a dental issue at all, and in others, the source may simply be one you never would have thought. If you’ve ever had an unexplained toothache while flying, it may have been caused by one of the latter.

What is a Flyer’s Toothache?

Most people would agree that a toothache can be one of the more uncomfortable feelings we can experience. In fact, one in four adults in America admits to having taken time off of work to seek dental treatment or nurse a sensitive, aching tooth. As a pilot, the distraction of a toothache could prove disastrous, and surprisingly, pilots are actually at an increased risk of experiencing a toothache compared to other, land-dwelling careers. The reason is attributed to the changes in altitude. Much the way your ear pops when flying at extreme heights, the same reaction can occur within crevices of your teeth. When air pressure, or barometric pressure, changes suddenly, the pressure in and around your body becomes unequal. When your ear pops, air is being released to return equilibrium to either side of your eardrum. Unfortunately, your teeth do not expand the way the tissues in your ears do and cannot compensate for the pressure.

Protect Your Teeth

Unfortunately, there is no cure for flyer’s toothache, or barodontalgia, but the condition is more likely to affect people with dental work, such as fillings, or areas of infection and inflammation. Exercising proper oral hygiene is your best daily defense against oral health issues and can help prevent the need for dental work. Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and to floss at least once (preferably before going to bed). If you plan on flying in the near future, complete any unfinished dental work, or fix any failed work, before your trip, if possible. To learn more about protecting your oral health, contact Dr. Moiceanu at our Richmond, CA dentist office by calling 510-758-7222. Located in Richmond, we proudly serve families from Berkeley, San Pablo, Pinole, Benicia, Vallejo, and the surrounding communities.

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