If you’ve ever gotten a sudden toothache while flying, only to have the toothache totally disappear when you land, you may be wondering what happened. Was it all in your head? Can flying really cause a toothache? Find out why you may get toothaches when you fly!
First of all, yes. Flying on an airplane can cause a toothache. How? Well, the answer lies in the pressure change caused by flying on an airplane. Most planes fly at nearly 40,000 feet in the air. The air at this height is too thin for us to breathe properly, which is why airplanes are pressurized.
However, airplanes do not have the same air pressure that is normal at sea level. The cabin is pressurized to the equivalent of about 6,000-8,000 feet of height. As we rise from sea level and the cabin pressure changes, air expands slightly. This is why your ears “pop” as the air inside escapes, and the pressure equalizes.
This is also why you may get a toothache on a plane. If you have a hole in your tooth from a cavity and air is stuck in it, it will try to expand as the plane rises. The same thing can happen if you have a filling or crown that has a gap where air can get trapped.
As the plane rises, this pressure will continue to build, and it could press down on the nerves below your tooth. In turn, this causes a toothache.
Yes, flying can cause a toothache. However, healthy teeth will not ache when you fly, because there is no air trapped inside them. A toothache on a plane means that there is something wrong with your tooth or dental work. Your filling or crown may be loose, causing an air gap, or you might have an untreated cavity
Either way, you should get help from a dentist right away. Failing to get treatment for a cavity may lead to a tooth infection, and if your dental work is failing or old, this can also cause complications beyond toothaches while flying. Restoring your tooth with a new crown or filling is the best way to eliminate air pockets and prevent toothaches while flying!
Got a plane to catch tomorrow morning? Don’t have time to see Dr. Lisa Skutak for treatment? You can take medicine like ibuprofen and use a topical pain reliever like Orajel to get some relief if your tooth starts to hurt while you fly.
But remember, this is a temporary solution. You need to have your tooth treated as soon as possible to prevent further decay or complications. See Dr. Skutak as soon as you can after your trip!
The phenomenon of getting a toothache on an airplane is real. And with proper care from Skutak Dental in Rothschild, Wausau and Schofield, you can make sure you never have to worry about your tooth hurting during a flight again. Contact us now at (715) 355-4433 for an appointment, or stop by our office at 700 Eagle Nest Boulevard, Suite E, Rothschild, WI 54474.