For many years we have had the experience of patients experiencing toothache after having travelled involving flying.
Typically it would involve teeth that have had a recent history of trauma, deep decay, or deep fillings having been placed. These teeth had irritated nerves,with a suspiscion of possible abscess occurring.
Upon landing,within 24-72 hours,symptoms of an abscess would occur, with the peak usually seen 24-48 hours. This occurrence was seen often enough by this office, that upon being notified of an upcoming flight within a month of deep fillings placed,or a fractured/cracked tooth(with chewing symptoms),a prescription of antibiotics and analgesics(pain killers) would be prescribed by this office and filled by a local pharmacy, then patients are asked to keep the prescription in their luggage, to be proactive in case a toothache develops , at which point they can start the antibitoics. This helps to prevent having to obtain the services of a dentist while traveling abroad , thus causing a disruption of their trip, and to prevent having to bear extra expenses.
The effects to these teeth is from the changes in pressure experienced with flying. It is similar to what divers experience, often referred to as “tooth squeeze” .
The mechanism by which dental pain occurs in conjunction with changes in ambient pressure is still unclear. It was called “flyer’s toothache” amongst pilots, now it is called Barodontalgia