Why Do My Teeth Hurt on Airplanes?

Cabin pressure can cause a variety of discomforts when flying, from “popping” ears and earache to headaches, joint, neck, and back pain. Some people often notice that flying triggers toothaches, even though they don’t have known dental issues

During the flight, the air in the airplane is thinner than the air at sea level, and so the change of pressure makes it slightly expand. If air is trapped somewhere in your body, this expansion can pressure nerves and cause many types of pains. 

We will further explain why that happens, and how you can manage and prevent pressure-induced tooth pain. 

Why Do You Get Toothaches During Flights?

The change in air pressure when you are flying causes discomfort when you have tiny pockets of air trapped in your joints, bones, ears, sinuses. The same thing can happen to your teeth. 

If you have an older filling (or a new one that was not properly done), air can be trapped in between the filling and your natural tooth, expanding and putting pressure on sensitive spots on the tooth, resulting in pain. Even if you don’t have a filling in that tooth, but it’s suffering from decay, chipping, or cracking, the same thing can happen. 

People with sensitive teeth will feel these effects faster and more strongly than others, which can make your flight very unpleasant, especially if you are flying a long way. 

How to Prevent Toothaches While Flying

When you prepare for your flight, make sure you stay hydrated and that you have over-the-counter painkillers with you. This can help you manage the discomfort during flight. 

However, it’s best to book an appointment with a dentist before you travel to make sure your fillings are executed correctly and don’t leave any space in between them and the natural tooth. During a checkup, the dentist can identify possible issues with crowns, fillings, cavities, or sensitive teeth, and recommend the proper restorative treatment for them. 

If you didn’t have time to visit the dentist before your flight, at least make sure you browse for dentists in the location you are going to, just in case there are complications during the flight and you need dental treatments soon after landing. 

Book an Appointment Today

If you want to prevent flight-related toothache, or you have experienced it before and you want to identify the cause, visit a dentist who can do a thorough check-up and suggest the best treatment for your dental issues. 

Dr. Anna Paholiouk and her team at Monarch Dental Arts provide excellent dental service to people in Rancho Mission Viejo and know what may cause discomfort during flights. 

Contact us to book an appointment and visit our modern, friendly office. We take new patients in and have the equipment and expertise to solve any dental issues that might trouble your air travels. 



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