Some people occasionally have toothache when they travel by air, which is called “aviation toothache” or “air pressure toothache” in medicine;. It is due to the change of air pressure at high altitude, which leads to the formation of gas embolism and pulp hyperemia. The exudate in the pulp can not be eliminated in time, which increases the pressure in the pulp cavity, thus causing pain. It has been found that most of the people who have air pressure toothache have mild pulpopathy without conscious symptoms. In addition, apicitis, deep caries cavity, severe dentin hypersensitivity, impacted teeth and other diseases will also produce obvious pain when encountering the change of air pressure. The main causes of toothache are secondary pulp injury, pressure reduction in pulp cavity, expansion of residual gas and compression of blood vessels. Dentin hypersensitivity, periodontitis and pericoronitis may also cause aviation toothache.
Aviation toothache is more common in military pilots, because the altitude of military aircraft is higher and the air pressure changes greatly. The pain is characterized by the spread of the diseased teeth around the ear or jaw. In general, the air pressure of civil aviation airliner changes slowly. If there is no dental disease (such as caries, pulpitis) and periodontal disease (such as periodontitis, periodontal abscess), the passengers will not have aviation toothache when flying.
In case of aviation toothache, passengers can take some painkillers or use cold compress to relieve the pain temporarily. Patients with deep caries, periodontal abscess and acute maxillary sinusitis should be treated as early as possible. After the treatment, they can travel by air without pain. The pulp sensitivity of caries is higher after filling treatment, so it is better not to travel by air within 4 hours after filling. It is worth noting that the original no toothache symptoms, if there is pressure toothache, it is best to go to the dentist for a careful examination.