While dentists always want to avoid extracting teeth, doing so is sometimes necessary to preserve a patient’s oral and overall health. Tooth extractions can alleviate chronic pain, prevent further injuries or infections, and keep teeth from being forced out of alignment, but the recovery period afterward isn’t known for being free of unpleasant aftereffects. Here are a few issues that can arise when traveling by air after tooth extraction and a few tips for alleviating them.
What Are the Dangers of Flying After Tooth Extraction?
It’s crucial that you take twenty-four to forty-eight hours to rest and heal after having a tooth extracted. Your dentist will provide you with aftercare instructions and prescriptions to help keep the process smooth, complication-free, and as comfortable as possible, so take care to follow them precisely. Neglecting to do so can lead to discomfort, pain, and delays in the healing process.
If you fly within the first two days after tooth extraction, you may be in for quite an unpleasant experience. As an aircraft gains altitude, the air pressure decreases, and this can agitate or even injure the surgical site, causing discomfort or even dry socket. Dry socket is a miserably painful condition that happens if a blood clot comes loose from an extraction site, exposing the distressed tissue, nerves, and jawbone beneath it. If you have dry socket, over-the-counter pain medication may be woefully insufficient to give you any significant relief.
How Can I Make Sure My Extraction Site Heals Properly If I Have to Fly?
The best way to avoid the complications that can arise from flying after tooth extraction is to wait a few days before you fly and take excellent care of the surgical wound during that time. If this is not possible, here are a few ways you can mitigate the risks and treat discomfort:
- Contact your dentist if needed.
- Bring a cold compress on board the plane to help relieve pain or discomfort.
- Make sure to fill any post-operative prescriptions before you leave and pack them in your carry-on bag. You might want to bring some over-the-counter pain medicine as well.
- Bring a room-temperature bottle of water for the flight, as hot or cold beverages can aggravate the surgical site.
- Bring clean gauze in your carry-on back in case your bandage needs a change.
- Stick to bland, soft foods.
- Rest as much as you can when on the plane and when you reach your destination.
Your dentist won’t recommend tooth extraction without a good reason. By keeping this information about traveling after extraction in mind, you can stay as comfortable as possible and keep your recovery as speedy as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Rodney L. Allen earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Baylor College of Dentistry and has participated in a variety of continuing education programs such as Nobel Biocare and courses on implant dentistry. He is proud to provide the community of Parker, CO with high-quality dental care that builds lasting doctor-patient relationships. His office offers general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry as well as tooth extraction services. For more information on staying comfortable after tooth extraction, contact his office online or dial (720) 851-6784.