Teeth on a Plane: Tooth Pain with Air Travel

Young handsome businessman with notebook sitting inside an airplane

You’re sitting in your seat looking at the tarmac when the pain taxis down the runway and takes off. You feel the usual rush as the plan accelerates and begins to climb. You also begin to feel an ache in your mouth that gets worse and worse the higher the plane travels.

Believe it or not, but air travel can cause tooth pain, and it’s an uncomfortable feeling, to say the least.  Find out how it does this and if it’s something you should worry about.

Why Do Airplanes Cause Tooth Pain?

You’ve heard of people’s eardrums bursting because of the pressure changes caused by the plane altitude, but it’s also the reason why you get toothaches as well. It was first noticed in World War II when pilots would get toothaches while flying in unpressurized planes.

When you have tooth problems such as a cracked tooth or cavity, air gets trapped under your teeth. When you’re on the ground, it’s no big deal and you likely don’t notice it. When you’re in a plan and the pressure decreases because of altitude, it causes the air pockets to expand and cause pain.

Should You Be Concerned?

If you experienced altitude related tooth pain, then the good news is it doesn’t make the issue any worse. In fact, you can think of it as an early warning system for tooth problems.

You don’t have to worry about your teeth exploding or anything like that. The expanding air just aggravates a problem already there. It also doesn’t create any problems.

What it will do is make the flight pretty miserable. Let’s hope you’re on a 3-hour flight and not a 16-hour transatlantic. The best you can do is take a few over-the-counter pain medication and sleep through the worst of it.

Can I Avoid Altitude Related Tooth Pain?

If you have healthy teeth, then you’re not likely to get a toothache on a plane. It’s only when you have problems that air bubbles form. It’s possible you have problems and don’t know about them. Before stepping foot on a plan, sit in your dentist’s chair.

They’ll be able to find and fix any problems before you get on a plane. If you’re recovering from oral surgery and still need to fly, talk to your dentist about precautions such as gauze pads due to extra bleeding.

If you’re planning a vacation that requires air travel, then contact A Lifetime of Smiles and we’ll keep you pain-free.

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