Robinson Township Smiles

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

September 30, 2019
Posted By: Ryan Rupert

It may seem strange, but getting a toothache on an airplane is actually a common occurrence. If you’ve ever gotten a toothache while flying and you’re wondering what it means, you’re in the right place. The team at Robinson Township Smiles will gladly explain what it means when you get a toothache on an airplane, and make sure you get the proper care you need to ensure that your teeth never hurt while flying again! 


What Does It Mean If My Tooth Hurts While Flying?


Basically, your tooth may hurt while you fly for the same reason that your ears “pop” while you ascend. The pressure in the airplane cabin is changing. When you fly, the cabin is typically kept at the equivalent of 6,000-8,000 feet of pressure, which is much higher than sea level. As air rises higher in the atmosphere, it expands because there is less pressure pushing down on it. This is what causes ear “popping.” Little air bubbles are expanding in your ears. The same thing can happen in your teeth! 


If you have an old filling or crown, a pocket could form underneath it, and an air bubble could get trapped. The same is true if you have a cavity. Air could get stuck in your tooth. Then, as your plane rises, the pressure increases and the air tries to escape. If it can’t escape and it’s stuck, it will put pressure on the nerves below your teeth. 


This, in turn, results in a toothache! This is probably why you notice that your toothache goes away almost immediately after landing. At regular atmospheric pressure, the toothache won’t happen! If you are experiencing a toothache during your flight, it usually means that you either have a cavity or a piece of failing dental work. 


What Treatment Will I Need to Restore My Tooth?


You may need a crown or a filling to restore your tooth. Whether you have a decayed tooth or a worn-out piece of dental work, it’s important to get help right away. If you don’t get treatment for a cavity, it will only get worse. 


The same is true of an old filling or another piece of failing dental work. Ideally, there should be no gaps where air can get in, because if air can get in, bacteria can get in, too! Either way, you should come to see Dr. Rupert at Robinson Township Smiles right away. 

Can I Treat My Toothache on My Own? 


If you have a flight that you can’t push back and you can’t see the dentist in time, medicine like ibuprofen and a topical numbing agent like Orajel may help with your toothache while flying. But remember that this is not a permanent solution! It is important to see a dentist as soon as you can to fix the problem permanently.


Got a Toothache While Flying? Contact Us for an Appointment! 

Getting a toothache while flying indicates that there is something wrong with your teeth. Healthy teeth will not cause pain or discomfort while flying. So if you’ve recently experienced a toothache while flying, contact Robinson Township Smiles right away for an appointment. You can call us at (412) 859-3833, or stop by our office in person at 66 Forest Grove Road, Coraopolis, PA 15108.

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