Flying After Wisdom Tooth Surgery


Man sitting at the airport

Amongst other frequently asked questions about wisdom teeth removal, many patients have expressed concerns regarding flying after tooth extraction or surgery.

Operating in a city like Singapore, we see a lot of patients who travel frequently and are concerned about flying after oral surgery procedures like teeth extraction or dental implants. Some people think they should not fly right after such procedures as it may cause pain or bleeding. However, this is not true. While we do advise patients to rest for a couple of days following oral surgery procedures, it is completely safe to travel or fly, even immediately after surgery.

Common Misconception

There is a common misconception that when flying, the change in altitude will prolong or aggravate bleeding. However, that is not true. Aeroplanes have pressurized cabins and therefore, flying will not cause further bleeding or discomfort.

Tips for Flying After Dental Treatments

Flying on the Same Day

If you are flying on the same day as the surgery, try to get an aisle seat near the lavatory. You may need to get up every 30 to 45 minutes to change your gauze until bleeding stops.

Take plenty of gauze with you as bleeding may continue for several hours following surgery. Bleeding will gradually diminish over six to eight hours. Keep biting on the gauze with firm pressure until bleeding has completely subsided.

Flying the Day After

If flying on the day after your wisdom tooth surgery, you are going to have to rinse every couple of hours with water or salt water. So again, probably a good idea to get an aisle seat near the lavatory. Take some salt with you and mix them in a bottled water purchased at the terminal. One or two bottles should be enough to get you through the flight.

If you take narcotic pain medication, do let the flight attendant know so they don’t become concerned with your over-sleepiness. If you have to get up, ask for their assistance in the event you get lightheaded.

Applying a cold pack to your cheek can help minimize swelling after surgery. Bring a couple of small Ziploc bags and ask the flight attendant to fill it with ice. Place the ice bag on the side of your face intermittently with 10-minute intervals.

Foods to Eat After Surgery

For food, get some shakes, soups or soft food at the terminal. Avoid hard foods, crunchy snacks and chewy foods as they may agitate your wound and prolong the recovery process.

If you just had dental implants, don’t worry about setting off the alarms at the security check. Dental implants are made of titanium, a non-magnetic metal. Therefore, they would not set off metal detectors.