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Yes, you are not imagining that your teeth may ache when you fly.  Teeth may become more sensitive and develop a growing pain as the plane leaves the airport and ascends into the skies.  Not only will current dental issues become evident as you begin to climb into the air, but your oral issues may feel worse than when you are on solid ground. You may even notice new tooth pain for the first time.  What is happening, and why are you experiencing a toothache when you fly?  What do you need to do to help manage the pain until the plane lands?

Flying can cause your teeth to ache when your body experiences the pressure changes caused by increased altitude, and is a condition called aerodontalgia.  You may also notice pain in your ears or a headache due to pressure changes.  You should only feel pain in existing problem areas due to changes in pressure throughout your flight, but not in your healthy teeth. Although the pressure may reveal new issues or make pre-existing pain worse, it will not impact healthy teeth and lead to tooth decay or gum disease.  Here are some things you can do to prepare for your flight and help manage the pain you may experience when you travel.

Before You Fly

It will be difficult to address any issues you are experiencing in the middle of your flight.  If you are experiencing tooth pain before you are planning a trip, it is best to make a visit to your dentist to address the issue.  The altitude issues will only exacerbate your pain and make you more uncomfortable.  A dentist will be able to alleviate toothaches by filling any cavities or making a new mouth guard for example.  Your dentist will also be able to go over your oral health history and anticipate and correct any issues that lead to pain, such as tooth cracks, cavities or loose fillings that could lead to discomfort while flying. Your dentist may suggest pain medicine to take half an hour before you board your plane to deal with ongoing oral health issues.

In-flight Relief

Plan ahead and make sure you take your dentist-approved pain medication before you depart, and take more as directed while you are flying to your destination. Your teeth may be more sensitive, so be careful to avoid cold or hot drinks that may stimulate this sensitivity, and avoid sugary or acidic foods that may cause you pain. If you are still recovering from dental surgery or treatment, make sure to pack extra gauze to handle any bleeding that may occur from your gums during your flight.

Dr. Melchers and his experienced staff are here to check for any early signs of tooth decay, and correct whatever caused your sensitivity before it gets worse when flying.  Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.