Why Does My Tooth Hurt on an Airplane?

Tell us if this sounds familiar:

You are traveling with your family, or maybe you're going on a business trip. As the plane ascends, you start feeling intense pain in one of your teeth. You tell yourself that you will schedule an appointment with your dentist the moment you land. But, as the plane descends, the pain starts going away. By the time the plane lands, your pain is completely gone, and you forget about calling your dentist. However, this scenario happens every time you fly.


Here are some reasons why your teeth may hurt on an airplane.

Why Flying May Be Giving You A Toothache?

It all has to do with pressure changes. Airplanes usually fly at about 40,000 feet. Their air up there is too thin for us to be able to breathe it, so the cabin is pressurized. However, when the airplane is on land, the cabin is not pressurized as the air here is perfect for us. This process begins at around 6,000 feet when the air starts getting thinner. This change in the air pressure is what is causing your toothache.

But there's more to it than just air pressure changes.

A Healthy Tooth Will Not Hurt

Not everyone will experience a toothache when flying, and that's because healthy teeth won't hurt on an airplane. But, if you have a cavity, for example, then the air can get trapped in the hole and expand while the cabin pressure changes. These changes can make your tooth hurt when you're flying.

What Can You Do About It?

If this is your first time experiencing tooth pain when flying, then you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. As we said, healthy teeth don't hurt regardless of the level of air pressure changes, so if you're experiencing pain, then that's a clear sign that something is wrong.

As a rule of thumb, you should see your dentist before flying if:

  • You have an old filling: Old fillings may get cracked or damaged, but it can be a while until they show some signs. However, if there's a crack in your filling, air can sneak in and cause pain. 
  • You had recent dental work done: Your teeth may still be sensitive after dental work, so make sure to check with your Mahopac dentist that everything is in order. 
  • You have a cavity: If you know that you have a cavity, then it may be best to treat it before your flight. 
  • You have sensitive teeth: If your teeth are already sensitive, flying might cause you additional pain. Talk to your dentist about it before your next trip.

Are you worried that your upcoming flight might be uncomfortable because of potential dental problems? Then book your appointment with Dr. Landman to have your oral health care checked.

Call us or contact us online to book your appointment.

Back to Blogs

Experience Modern Care with a Local Touch

Schedule your visit with our team today!

Request Appointment