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What Does It Mean If I Get a Toothache on an Airplane?

Do you frequently find that your teeth hurt on airplanes? Wondering what might cause a toothache on an airplane, and whether or not this is a serious dental issue? In this article from Heritage Dentistry, we’ll explain everything you need to know. 

Why Do I Get a Toothache on Airplanes?

This phenomenon is very common. Basically, your tooth may start hurting on an airplane due to changes in air pressure. This is the same reason that your ears “pop” while you ascend. 

Airplanes usually fly at a height of 30,000 feet. At this height, the air is too thin for us to breathe properly and get enough oxygen. Because of this, the airplane is pressurized. But it’s not pressurized to sea level (0 feet) because such a huge pressure differential could damage the plane. Instead, planes are pressurized to a height of about 6,000-8,000 feet. 

As the plane rises and the air becomes “thinner,” it expands slightly. You’ll notice your ears “popping” when you rise. This means the inside and outside air in your ear is “equalizing” to the change in pressure.

This same thing can happen to your teeth. If your tooth has a pocket of air trapped inside of it, the air will try to expand. However, it will have nowhere to go. As this air expands, it can put pressure on the nerves that support your tooth, which results in a toothache. 

How Can I Stop Getting Toothaches on Airplanes?

Healthy teeth do not have air pockets. They are solid and lack any cracks or crevices where air could be trapped. This means they won’t cause a toothache. However, if you have an untreated cavity or an old filling, air could become trapped within your tooth, causing a toothache.

If you are getting toothaches on airplanes, this indicates that something is wrong with one of your teeth. You may need to have it filled or have your filling replaced to eliminate air pockets and prevent this issue from recurring in the future.

What If I Can’t See a Dentist Before My Next Flight?

Got a flight tomorrow? Don’t have time to see a dentist in Greenville? You have a few options to help with your pain during your flight. You can use medicine like aspirin or ibuprofen to help with pain. Topical pain relievers like Orajel can also help numb the area and mitigate the pain of your toothache.

However, you shouldn’t just rely on these treatments. A toothache during a flight indicates an issue with your oral health, which should be addressed by a dental professional as soon as possible. Once your trip is over, see a dentist as soon as you can.

Get Help From Heritage Dentistry – Stop the Pain of Toothaches on Airplanes!

Dr. Preston Hamrick is an experienced dentist in Greenville. If you are getting toothaches on airplanes due to a cavity or a damaged filling, he can help. Contact us at (864) 292-5125 to get the restorative care you need, or stop by our office at 4105 E North Street, Greenville, SC 29615 to schedule your appointment in person.