Do you have a tooth that hurts whenever you fly, but feels normal everywhere else? This is more common than you may think. And in this blog from North Billerica Smiles, we’ll look at the root cause of this issue, and discuss why you should schedule an appointment with a dentist if your tooth hurts on airplanes.
So, why does your tooth hurt when you fly? To answer this question, we have to start with the basics of air pressure during flight. Planes usually fly about 35,000 feet above sea level while they’re cruising.
Air expands as it rises, becoming “thinner.” The air at 35,000 feet is way too thin to breathe, so airplane cabins are pressurized to ensure that you can breathe properly. But it would be impractical to pressurize an airplane to 0 feet (sea level), so airplane cabins are pressurized to about 6,000-8,000 feet.
This air pressure is breathable, but air still expands quite a bit from sea level to 6,000 to 8,000 feet. And this is why your tooth hurts when you’re flying on an airplane! Let’s explain the details.
As you take off in an airplane, the cabin will slowly be pressurized to about 6,000 to 8,000 feet. As mentioned, this means the air in the cabin will expand slightly.
The same is true of air that’s trapped in your tooth, and this is exactly why toothaches happen on airplanes. If there is some air trapped in your tooth, it will try to expand. But it will have nowhere to go, so this results in a lot of pressure being placed on the tooth itself, as well as the underlying nerves and support structures.
In turn, this causes a toothache. As the plane rises, your tooth will start to hurt as the air tries to expand and the cabin is pressurized. Then, when you descend and land, the air pressure will equalize, and your tooth won’t hurt anymore.
If your tooth hurts when you fly, something is wrong. Why? Because teeth aren’t meant to have air bubbles! Your tooth should be solid, with no openings, holes or other imperfections that could trap air, resulting in a toothache on an airplane.
So if you have tooth pain while flying, the most likely culprit is an untreated cavity. If you have a cavity, air could be trapped in it and cause discomfort while you fly. You may also have a piece of failing dental work. Air could get trapped between a dental crown or a dental filling and the tooth, resulting in pain and discomfort.
Either way, you should see one of our dentists and get a checkup. Tooth pain on airplanes isn’t normal. By getting the appropriate treatment in Billerica, you can eliminate your discomfort and prevent further complications.
Toothaches on an airplane may not seem like a big deal, but they always indicate a more serious oral health problem. So if you experience tooth pain while flying, don’t wait. Contact North Billerica Smiles online or give us a call at (978) 262-0023 to schedule an appointment and get the help you need.