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Why You Should Receive A Dental Checkup Before Your Next Plane Trip

Before you go on your next vacation or business trip, you need to add “dental checkup” to your to-do list! It seems like a strange suggestion, but by boarding an airplane if you already have a toothache or oral sensitivity, the atmospheric pressure changes could intensify this pain and sensitivity.

The reason for this is simple physics. At normal atmospheric pressure, our bones, muscles, and organs have equalized external pressure. However, when we experience atmospheric extremes (lower pressure when flying or higher pressure during scuba dives), you will feel the effects of this pressure, and it’s not pleasant! Your body isn’t able to equalize the pressure like it usually can, and this can cause discomfort and pain.

The body structure most likely to have an effect on your teeth and jaws would be the sinus cavities. The lower walls of the maxillary sinuses are directly next to your upper back teeth and they even share the same nerve pathways. Because of this, pain from the sinuses trying to equalize the pressure may be felt in the teeth, and vice versa. This is known as referred pain.

During these changes, the pain from any existing teeth or jaw issues will intensify as the sinus cavity presses on the jaw. This pain can become excruciating, putting a damper on your trip and having to scramble to find an emergency dentist in a new area.

Because of this, we recommend that you take care of any dental issues before flying in the air or diving in the ocean! Taking early action can save you a lot of pain, misery, and money in the long run.

To make an appointment with Dr. Kate Wilson, please contact Coastal Periodontics, located in Portsmouth, NH!

Posted on Mar 23, 2016

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