Why Do I Get Toothaches on Airplanes?

If you’ve ever been on an airplane before, you’re likely familiar with air cabin pressure and how it can cause our ears to pop. The same discomfort people can feel in their ears as a result of thin and expanding air.

To find out more about what causes this phenomenon, why it happens, and how you can prevent it in the future, read on. This blog from Aglow Dental Studio will fill you in on the science behind toothaches on airplanes.

What Is Aerodontalgia and Why Does it Happen?

Aerodontalgia is the name for experiencing toothaches caused by atmospheric decompression. This is when you are flying at high altitudes and the cabin pressure compensates for this, but in turn, causes the air to be thinner and expand. 

You may be familiar with this phenomenon as it relates to your ears. When air expands, it can cause your ears to pop. Similarly, if you have a hole in your tooth, air can become trapped there too, which causes a toothache.

Expanding air will not cause toothaches in healthy teeth. If you are experiencing toothaches on airplanes, it is a sign that you have an opening in your teeth due to an underlying dental issue. This could be a cavity or old dental work that needs to be replaced, such as a filling or crown. 

The air can become trapped inside of the tooth and when it attempts to expand, this puts pressure on your tooth and results in an aching sensation. When you experience this, you should visit the dentist right away to check for cavities or dental work that needs replacing.

How to Prevent Toothaches on Airplanes

To prevent toothaches that are caused by air pockets inside of your teeth, then you want to prevent the presence of air pockets in your teeth. If you have not been to the dentist recently and are going to be flying soon, you should go to see if you need to get a cavity filled or if old fillings and crowns need to be replaced. 

Dr. Rosemary Ahanor performs dental cleanings and checkups as dental prevention and this is the best way to ensure you don’t need extensive dental work later on.

Relieving Toothache Pain

If you cannot get to the dentist right away, then in the meantime you can take pain-relieving medication such as ibuprofen or use a topical numbing cream such as Orajel. This will help alleviate pain and discomfort in the short term, but ultimately the problem will not dissipate until you fix the source of the problem at the dentist.

Flying Shortly After Having Dental Work Done

If you have already gotten your cavities filled and old dental work repaired, it is safe to fly within a day. However, if you have just had oral surgery, then you should inform your dentist if you plan on flying soon, because you may need to take specific precautionary measures.

Flying after oral surgery may require you to:

  • Bring gauze or cotton balls to stop bleeding
  • Identify a dentist in the area you will be landing in case of a dental emergency
  • Have over the counter pain medication with you on the flight to alleviate discomfort

Put an End to Airplane Toothaches Today at Aglow Dental Studio

Toothaches should not be occurring in healthy teeth as a result of cabin air pressure. This is a sign that you have a hole or crack in your teeth or your previous dental work such as fillings or crowns are failing and need to be replaced.

This is what is allowing air to be trapped inside of your tooth and when it expands, it causes a toothache. In some cases, you could just have sensitive teeth which are susceptible to experiencing discomfort, but in most cases, this is a sign that you have an underlying dental issue.

If you experience toothaches on airplanes, you should contact us at Aglow Dental Studio for a checkup and cleaning. Dr. Rosemary Ahanor can treat the source of the problem so your next flight goes by smoothly and comfortably. Schedule an appointment today!

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