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Ask Dr. Hegland Your Own Question
Dr. Hegland
Dr. Hegland, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 103
Experience:  Dentist at Dental Care on Demand
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My wife is having the first of two root canal appointments

Customer Question

Hi there,
JA: Hello. What is your issue regarding?
Customer: My wife is having the first of two root canal appointments tomorrow
JA: Have you seen a dentist about this yet?
Customer: we are going on vacation on Thursday, so she will be flying (for 2 hours) with a temporary filling
JA: Please give me a bit more information, so the dentist can help you best.
Customer: her dentist mentioned that there is a risk of issues occurring when flying with a temp filling but he did not explain very well exactly what the risk is and how likely it is to occur just trying to decide whether or not to cancel our vacation
Submitted: 10 days ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. Hegland replied 10 days ago.

So the risk with flying is dealing with the pressure changes in the aircraft with that temporary filling. So what happens after the first appointment for a root canal, the root canal system is cleaned and shaped and a medicant like calcium hydroxide is place into the chamber along with a cotton pellet and a temporary filling material into the access (hole) to seal the tooth. Since the temporary filling doesn't completely fill the chamber there is small amount of air that would be trapped inside that tooth. When you are in an airplane that pressure can build and cause discomfort (similar to people that have ear infections and can't release the pressure that builds in the inner ear). So as far as the tooth itself, there is anything deleterious happening but discomfort could happen from that pressure. Since the dentist knows you are going on vacation, he/she will likely pack the cotton tight so that their is less air in the chamber. If her tooth isn't causing pain now, it should be tolerable for the flight; a symptomatic tooth may be more sensitized to pressure changes. Everybody reacts differently, so its difficult to predict however. Does this make sense.