If you’ve ever flown with a toothache, or experienced tooth pain during takeoff or landing that you don’t feel any other time, you know how miserable it can make your journey. What is it that causes tooth pain for some people on airplanes, while others don’t feel anything at all?
The problem usually occurs when a passenger on an airplane has air trapped inside a tooth or filling. This could be due to decay, as there only needs to be a microscopic hole or past dental work like fillings to make it possible for air pockets to form and get trapped. Usually, air is able to escape these pockets, but may not be able to do so quickly enough to keep up with the changes in cabin pressure during takeoff and landing. This difference in pressure can cause an ache or even throbbing pain.
It is also possible to experience what may feel like tooth pain but what is really a result of your sinuses’ inability to match the pressure in the cabin of the airplane. In these cases, remedies like chewing gum can work to alleviate the ache. In cases of air trapped inside of teeth, there’s nothing you can do once you’re already seated on the plane, except take pain medication to keep you comfortable until you land and it hopefully goes away.
The best defense against tooth pain on airplanes is to keep your teeth healthy and clean so you don’t have decay or fillings that could create air pockets. If you’re experiencing mild tooth pain you should contact a dentist anyway, but particularly so if you’re about to take a flight, as the changes in air pressure could cause your tooth pain to worsen. Gateway Park Dental is located near the Denver International Airport—give us a call before you head to the airport to make sure you won’t have tooth pain to worry about on your vacation!