It may seem like a strange association, but there is a link between air travel and increased tooth pain. If you or your child boards an airplane while already suffering from tooth pain, the pressure changes can cause the pain to intensify quite significantly.
The reason for this increased pain can be explained with simple physics. At a normal atmospheric pressure, all of our muscles, organs, and bones, have equalized external pressure. Once this pressure changes, especially into the atmospheric extremes (lower pressure when flying, and higher pressure when scuba diving), the effects of this change on the body can be less than pleasant. Because your body is unable to equalize the pressure, pain and discomfort can be a result.
The structure of the body most likely to cause pain in the jaws and teeth is the sinus cavity. This is because the lower walls of the maxillary sinus sit directly next to the upper molars. In fact, they even share some of the same nerve pathways. This means that sinus pain resulting from pressure changes may be felt in the teeth; this is known as referred pain.
During the pressure changes, any existing dental pain will intensify as the sinuses press into the jaw. This pain can become incredibly intense, which can put a halt to your vacation as you scramble to find an emergency dentist in an unfamiliar area.
Here at Firestone Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we recommend scheduling a checkup for your child before you travel. To make an appointment, please contact our Firestone, Colorado pediatric dental office today.