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What to Know About Flying After a Tooth Extraction

May 3, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — shengji @ 6:15 am
someone standing in an airport

When you have a nasty tooth extracted, that can free you from a lot of pain and discomfort, giving you a much healthier smile than you had before. However, immediately after the procedure, it may not feel like that. Caring for an extraction area after the procedure can come with its own set of challenges, and your surgeon will do what they can to help you through the recovery.

If you’re getting on a plane after a tooth extraction, there are a few ways in which that can present unique challenges. Here’s why that is, and what you can do to make the flight a little easier.

How Can Flying Cause Problems?

As you’re probably aware, flying causes a dramatic change in air pressure, which can have all kinds of funny effects on the body. Even under the best of circumstances, this can cause sinus pain, headaches, and even mild toothaches.

If you’ve recently had a tooth extracted (like within 48-72 hours of flying) it could cause a fair amount of discomfort when the pressure changes. The wound may even reopen, causing it to bleed excessively. For that reason it’s often recommended not to fly directly after surgery, but if you absolutely need to, talk to your dentist or surgeon about the risks associated with that.

What Can I Do To Make Flying Comfortable?

If your dentist gave you any pain relievers, that can be incredibly helpful in making the flight more comfortable. If not, be sure to stock up on over-the-counter pain relief before getting on the plane, and take it either as directed by your dentist or on the bottle.

You should pack a kit in your carry-on filled with these pain relievers, along with anything else that you may need. Extra gauze is a must, as you may experience some bleeding on the flight. This goes double if you’re still in the period after surgery where you’re expecting to change out gauze regularly.

You may also want to avoid hot or cold drinks, so it can be smart to bring your own water bottle. That way, you aren’t reliant on whatever the flight attendants can give you.

Finally, if you’re really uncomfortable, you can ask the flight attendant to give you a bag of ice and place it on your face as a cold compress. Hold it there for around 10 minutes, then remove it.

About the Author

Dr. Sheng Ji comes from a family of dentists and had an interest in the field from a very early age. Today he’s happy to be living his dream, providing his patients with strong, healthy smiles through the wonders of oral surgery. Dr. Ji received his DDS from the UCSF School of Dentistry and his MD from the UT Southwestern School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at the UT Southwestern/Parkland OMFS.

If you have any questions about tooth extractions, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (916) 961-1902.

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