Why Does My Tooth Hurt on an Airplane?

This may sound a bit too familiar. 

You're on an airplane, ready for your vacation or business trip. But, as the plan starts ascending, you start experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity. 

The problem is not that uncommon, and many people report some level of oral health discomfort while flying. 

But why does it happen? 

Here's what you need to know. 

How Air Pressure Changes Affect Your Oral Health

You can blame your toothache on the changes in air pressure. But only partially. Here's why. 

The cabin pressure in an airplane is adapted to mimic the air pressure at sea level. This is an essential process to ensure that the passengers and crew can feel and breathe comfortably during the flight. However, these changes in air pressure can cause tooth and sinuses discomfort. 

When the air gets stuck inside a small crack or crevice inside your tooth and then expands as the plane ascends and the cabin pressure changes, then you may experience pain.

Reasons Your Tooth Might Hurt on an Airplane

Here's why we said that cabin pressure can only be partially blamed for your tooth discomfort. A healthy tooth isn't affected by changes in the air pressure. For the air to sneak in and get trapped, it will need a gateway to the tooth. And that gateway can be facilitated by:

  • Tooth Infections: If you have an infection in your tooth, the pain may be exacerbated by the change in air pressure.
  • Gum Disease: If you have gum disease, the pressure changes can cause inflammation and pain in your gums.
  • Cavities or Tooth Decay: If you have a cavity or tooth decay, the pressure changes can cause pain or sensitivity in the affected tooth.
  • Cracked Teeth: If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, the gap can make it possible for air to get trapped and cause pain. 

What to Do About It

The most important thing is to realize that tooth pain while flying is an indication of a dental problem. So, book an appointment for a check up with your dentist in Valparaiso as soon as you land. In the meantime, you can try the following tricks to reduce your discomfort: 

  • Chew gum: Chewing gum can help equalize the pressure in your mouth and sinuses, which can help to reduce tooth pain.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication: If possible, take some pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to help reduce inflammation and relieve tooth pain.
  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help reduce tooth sensitivity.
  • Avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks: These foods and drinks can increase tooth sensitivity and worsen tooth pain.

Toothache While Flying? You Need to See a Dentist! 

A lot of people forget to check their dental health after experiencing tooth pain while flying simply because the discomfort disappears once they are on land again. But the problem is there, and it will only grow bigger if left untreated. 

The team at Brad Wisowaty DDS LLC cares about your oral health and wants you to enjoy a beautiful and lasting smile. 

Get in touch with us now, tell us about your problem, and we will make sure to restore your oral health. 

"I am a dentist who loves being a dentist. No judging, no moral high horse. Just honest, quality dental care provided with passion."

 – Dr. Brad Wisowaty

What are you waiting for? Get your oral health on track