Altitude And Teeth: What To Know

March 25th 2018

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Did you notice on your last flight that you had a toothache? Or, do you live in an area that is higher in altitude than the rest of the country, such as Colorado, and have had a recurring toothache? It could be that your tooth problem is due to altitude issues, or barodontalgia.

Barodontalgia: Your Teeth Under Pressure

Barodontalgia occurs when there is a difference between the surrounding air pressure and pressure in your teeth. This happens when there is an air pocket in a tooth. As you rise in altitude the air pockets within your body, such as in your sinuses or ears, equalize with the surrounding air pressure. When that doesn’t happen, you experience pain. When it comes to pain in the ears or sinuses swallowing or chewing can help alleviate the problem. However, these are not realistic solutions for barodontalgia.

How Do I Get Air Pockets In My Teeth?

There are several ways that air pockets can form in teeth. For example:

- A defective dental procedure

- Pulp necrosis

- Periodontal pockets

- Apical periodontitis

- Mucous retention cysts

- Dental caries

- Impacted teeth

When you have teeth that are unhealthy, microscopic openings can occur in your teeth. This allows air to enter and create air pockets. If you have had a dental procedure air can become trapped inside the tooth while the work is being done.

What Can I Do To Treat The Pain?

There isn’t much that you can do in the moment to address the pain associated with barodontalgia. You could take an over-the-counter medication for pain relief. Another idea is to descend in altitude. However, these are only temporary solutions. They will not address the root cause of the problem-air pockets.

What Can Dr. Bigus Do?

If you have a health issue related to your teeth, Dr. Bigus and the staff at Rocky Mountain Smiles can ensure that you get quality treatment. Dr. Bigus has advanced training in procedures such as root canals and dental implants. Thus, you can be certain that if you need a dental procedure you will get quality care.

A Quick Note about Dental Insurance

This is one of those situations where dental insurance can come in handy. Nobody expects to develop barodontalgia. Yet it can be an inconvenience at best or be very painful and affect your quality of life. That’s why having dental insurance already in place can be very helpful when unexpected situations such as this occur.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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