January 13, 2019
As you board the plane, you literally could not be more excited. You have been planning this trip for years, and now that you have finally made it to your seat, it is just a matter of time before you are officially on vacation. As the plane takes off, your enthusiasm grows as you ascend, until you suddenly feel…a terrible toothache. Toothaches during flights are relatively common, and many people feel them even if they were not experiencing dental problems beforehand. What is causing this, and more importantly, is there a way to avoid this kind of pain? A dentist in Williamsville offers helpful tips to ensure your next trip is nice and easy.
What Causes Toothaches on Airplanes?
Just like with your ears and sinuses, dental pain during flight is typically due to cabin pressure. As the pressure changes in the cabin (which happens mostly during ascent and descent), the air pressure in your body tries to balance with the pressure on the outside. This is why many people chew gum or suck on candy to “pop” their ears.
However, sometimes air can become trapped within a tooth and be unable to escape, so when the surrounding pressure changes, this causes someone to feel pain. How did air get in there in the first place? There are two main reasons:
When a tooth has decay, that means there may be a tiny hole in the enamel, which allows air to get in but not easily get out, essentially trapping it. This means the air cannot adjust to the cabin pressure, which often leads to a toothache.
Filling or Other Dental Work
A little space between a filling and the surrounding enamel can lead to trapped air as well. This is more common with older fillings that may have experienced some wear and tear over the years.
How to Handle an Airplane Toothache
Unfortunately, there is little you can do to stop an airplane toothache once it has already started. Chewing gum or swallowing will not work like it does for your ears, and taking a painkiller may provide little relief as well. If you ever experience a toothache like this, handle it best you can, and try to see a dentist as soon as possible so you can get everything fixed before your return flight. This is why it is always a good idea to at least look up a dentist in whatever place you are traveling to so you can be prepared in case of an emergency.
As with any dental issue, prevention is the best approach. Regularly visiting your dentist will enable them to catch and treat decay early, plus they will check on the condition of your dental fillings in Williamsville, letting you know if one needs to be fixed. If you are about to fly and have not been to the dentist in a while, then it is a great idea to schedule an appointment.
Flying is already stressful enough without having to deal with a dental problem, but by keeping these tips in mind, you will have one less hassle standing between you and your destination.
About the Author
Dr. Lance Pozarny is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, International College of Dentists, and he has been practicing in the Williamsville area for decades. If you are about to fly or have previously experienced a toothache while on a flight, he recommends scheduling a dental appointment so you have a painless trip. For more information, he can be contacted through his website.
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