Did you know that certain people can experience tooth pain while traveling in an airplane? This is known as aerodontalgia or barodontalgia, or more commonly as flyer’s toothache. A flyer’s toothache is characterized by tooth pain that occurs when there are changes in ambient pressure. In some cases, it is also described as a tooth squeeze because of the pressure. 

WWII pilot standing next to plane looking off into the distance

Although the condition is rare, it can be irritating to those people that it does affect. The most common victims of flyer’s toothache are underwater divers and military pilots. This is because underwater divers can be exposed to several atmospheres of pressure increase, while pilots deal with rapid changes in pressure. 

Aerodontalgia was first discovered and named during WWII when pilots began complaining of toothaches while flying. At that time, the planes they flew were unpressurized and were susceptible to significant changes in atmospheric (also known as barometric) pressure. 

As time went on, the same reports of toothaches were recorded by underwater divers that dive deep enough for the pressure to change. This solidified the hypothesis that the toothaches were the result of a change in barometric pressure. Consequently, the name was changed from aerodontalgia to barodontalgia. However, the common name ‘flyer’s toothache’ remained the same. 

Research eventually discovered that tooth pain while flying or diving was the result of air pockets that would expand when pressure decreased during ascent. Most cases of flyer’s toothache occur at a height of 9,000 feet or above and a depth of 30 feet or below. While air pockets are not normally present within the teeth, they can occur below fillings, in cracked teeth, below areas of decay, and if an abscess is present at the tip of the tooth root. Simply stated, experiencing tooth pain while flying or diving is considered to be a dental symptom of an underlying problem. 

Woman with toothache on plane

While tooth pain while flying or diving may occur as a result of the aforementioned dental problems, it can also be associated with sinusitis or barotrauma. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the tissue within the sinus cavities and may be to blame if the tooth pain originates in the top of the mouth. Barotrauma is when the change in pressure actually causes damage to the tooth. This can occur in cases where the void containing an air pocket cannot expand or contract to balance the pressure. This can result in a dislodged filling or a fractured tooth. 

Although a flyer’s toothache does affect many people, it is still important to be aware of in case you are affected. To prevent the risk of developing tooth pain while flying or diving, many dentists recommend having necessary dental work completed at least three days prior to any flight or dive. Additionally, if you are a frequent flyer or diver and you continuously experience tooth pain, it is time to make an appointment with your dentist. Especially in cases where the pain continues once you’ve reached ground level. 

Are you one of the 48% of Americans that drink soda everyday? Not only did a recent Gallup poll find that almost half of Americans drink soda daily, but they found that the average amount consumed was 2.6 glasses a day! If you drink soda, does this sound like you? If you’re not a big soda person, do you drink other soft drinks daily?

Soft drinks, such as sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks can have a negative impact on your overall and oral health. For starters, the regular consumption of soft drinks has been associated with health conditions such as type-2 diabetes and obesity. Additionally, soft drinks can also cause problems with your teeth. 

tooth sitting atop sugar cubes

This is because the majority of soft drinks contain two damaging ingredients: acid and sugar. Many sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks contain either citric or phosphoric acid. When they are consumed, they cause your saliva to become more acidic than normal. In fact, research has suggested that a single sip can make your saliva acidic for up to 30 minutes after consumption. The increased acidity can cause the enamel to erode or become weaker and thinner. Unfortunately, sugar-free soft drinks still generally contain enough acid to be detrimental to tooth enamel. 

Sugar is another detrimental component in soft drinks. Sugar causes two problems. First, it feeds the bacterial populations in your mouth so that they not only survive, but reproduce to create more bacteria. Second, once the bacteria consume sugar, they digest it into an acidic waste product that exposes your teeth to even more acid. In fact, dental cavities usually occur as a result of bacteria accumulating in one area and attacking the tooth with acid until the enamel erodes. 

Therefore if you must have soft drinks, there are a few key steps you should take to decrease the risk of dental erosion and tooth decay: 

Practice Moderation

One of the best steps you can take is to limit the amount of soft drinks you consume. Ultimately, the less acid and sugar you are exposing your teeth to, the better. Additionally, refraining from frequent soft drink consumption has a variety of other benefits to your overall health. 

soft drink with a straw

Use a Straw

Another way to reduce the impact of soft drinks is to consume them with a drinking straw. This helps to limit the amount of contact they have with your teeth and decreases the amount of acid and sugar your teeth are exposed to. 

Drink Fast

The damage done to your teeth begins with the first step and continues until about 20-30 minutes after your last sip. Drinking faster reduces the total amount of time your teeth are exposed to excess acids and sugars. 

Rinse Your Mouth

Once you have finished your soft drink, it is a good idea to swish some water around your mouth to rinse out any remaining acid and sugar. This will also help your saliva return to its normal pH. 

Get Regular Dental Cleanings

Since soft drink consumption increases your risk of tooth decay and enamel erosion, it is imperative that you schedule regular dental exams and cleanings so your dentist can make sure your teeth are healthy and free from decay. 

Overall, soft drinks pose a threat to your overall and oral health. Both the acids and sugars they contain can cause enamel erosion and tooth decay. While the best strategy is to discontinue or decrease soft drink consumption, there are a few other steps you can take to reduce the risks associated with soft drinks. Ultimately, however, one of the other best strategies is to see your dentist regularly for dental cleanings. 

After having dental implants placed, there are certain things that you must do to decrease the risk of implant failure. This is because the implants must fuse with the surrounding bone to be considered successful. Therefore, to avoid disturbing the implant while it heals, your dentist will often place you on a temporary soft foods diet and advise that you chew on the opposite side of the mouth if possible. 

However, did you know that there may also be another important thing you can do to help your implant fuse with your jawbone? In addition to following all the guidelines provided by your dentist, you can also make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. A simple blood test can test your vitamin D levels and various doses of vitamin D are available over the counter. 

Why Vitamin D?

vitamin D synthesis

At this point, you may be wondering how vitamin D can help your dental implants heal. In order to answer that, we must look at what the body uses vitamin D for. Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium in order to maintain bone health and encourage new bone growth. In fact, calcium can only be absorbed when vitamin D is present. Since dental implants require new bone growth to fuse them in place, having enough vitamin D is essential for better treatment outcomes. 

Additionally, vitamin D has also been found to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply stated, this can reduce the risk of developing an infection after implant surgery and promote faster healing. Vitamin D also promotes healthy gums and decreases the risk of gum disease. Healthy gums are another essential factor for implant success. 

Do I have a vitamin D deficiency?

According to a study cited on the National Center for Biotechnology Information database, 41.6% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. Out of this number, there are certain people who may be at a higher risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. The most common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are: 

While a blood test is the only way to confirm your vitamin D levels and whether or not you are deficient, there are some signs that can indicate a deficiency, including: 

vitamin D blood test

How much vitamin D?

For adults up to age of 70, 600 IU of vitamin D is recommended per day and 800 IU is recommended for adults over the age of 70. You can increase your vitamin D intake by getting more sun, eating more fatty fish and dairy products, or through a vitamin D supplement. However, it is important to consult with your primary physician to determine what dosage is the best for your body. 

Nowadays people are busier than ever. So when your dentist tells you that you need to have a dental filling placed, you may be wondering how you are going to fit that into your already busy schedule. Of course, fitting it into your schedule means that you will need to have a rough idea of how long dental fillings take. 

Since dental fillings are one of the most commonly performed dental procedures, this means that your dentist has perfected the art of effectively and quickly placing them. In most cases, a single dental filling can be placed in about 20 minutes to an hour. The exact time it takes to place a filling will depend on a few key factors such as the type of filling, size of the cavity, and the dental material being used. 

There are two different types of fillings that your general dentist can perform. The first is called a direct filling. They are called direct fillings because the procedure can be entirely completed inside the mouth with a single dental appointment. The other type of filling is known as an indirect filling, also referred to as inlays and onlays. Unlike direct fillings, indirect fillings cannot be completed entirely inside the mouth and usually require more than one dental appointment. 

dental onlay

The next thing that will need to be considered is the size of the cavity being filled. Smaller cavities being treated with a direct filling can generally be filled closer to the 20 minute mark, while slightly larger cavities will require more direct filling material and can take longer to complete. Additionally, large cavities that cover the entire chewing surface, as well as one or more of the tooth’s points, require an inlay or onlay. Because inlays or onlays are indirect fillings fabricated in a dental lab, they generally require two appointments to place. 

The final consideration is the type of dental material being used for the filling. Direct fillings can be completed with silver amalgam or composite resin. Silver amalgam may take slightly longer to place because more preparation is required before it can be placed, whereas composite resin requires less prep, while also requiring multiple layers. Indirect fillings are generally fabricated from gold or porcelain, but both will need to be fabricated in a dental lab. Therefore, the time it takes to place an indirect filling is about the same despite the dental material. 

Now that we’ve examined the different considerations for time variances, let’s take a look at the basic procedure used to place a dental filling. The first step is to numb the affected area using a dental anesthetic. Although the anesthetic injection can cause a brief stinging sensation, the rest of the procedure is painless due to the anesthetic. 

Six steps of placing a dental filling

Once the area is numb, your dentist will begin by using a dental drill to remove the decayed tissue. Then, the remaining cavity will be shaped according to the type of dental filling. In the case of direct fillings, silver amalgam will require the removal of more natural tissue than composite resin. If an indirect filling is being placed, then a dental impression will be taken once the decayed tissue has been removed. This information will be sent to a dental lab so the inlay or onlay can be fabricated. A second appointment will then be needed to adhere the final filling to the tooth. 

As you can see, there are various factors that can affect how long it takes to have a dental filling placed. Although most fillings can be placed in an average of 20 minutes to an hour, this timeframe can change based on the type of filling, size of the cavity, and the dental materials being used for the filling. Prior to having a filling placed, all these things will be discussed in order to give you a better idea of just how long your filling procedure is anticipated to take. 

Did you know that around 40 million Americans have sensitive teeth? This unfortunately means that 40 million Americans experience sudden tooth pain when eating or drinking things that are cold, hot, or very sweet. Although this pain fades quickly once the stimuli has been removed, it can still cause them to avoid these foods or beverages that cause them pain. If you are one of those 40 million Americans, you probably understand this all too well. 

If you are afflicted by having sensitive teeth, one thing you probably want to know is how to stop tooth sensitivity so that you can go back to enjoying all your favorite foods and beverages, regardless of temperature or sugar content. While it is possible to stop tooth sensitivity, how you go about it will depend on the cause of your sensitivity. 

Because tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of things, there is no one size fits all treatment. Therefore, it is essential to know what is causing the sensitivity before you can accurately treat it. The best way to determine the cause of tooth sensitivity is to schedule an appointment with your local dentist so they can perform an exam and get to the root of the problem. 

Some possible causes of tooth sensitivity that your dentist may find include: 

Some possible ways to stop tooth sensitivity include: 

Dental Fillings

If your tooth sensitivity is caused by a cavity, the best way to resolve the problem is to have the cavity filled. This is because cavities are basically holes in your teeth that allow stimuli to enter the inside of your tooth and irritate the nerve. As long as you have an untreated cavity, it will continue to grow and your tooth sensitivity will get worse. Having a dental filling placed prevents the cavity from growing and relieves tooth sensitivity pain. To place a cavity, your dentist will first remove all the decayed tissue before filling the remaining cavity with composite resin or silver amalgam to effectively seal the tooth. If you have an old filling that has worn out, it may also be allowing stimuli to seep inside your tooth. In this case, the old filling will be removed and replaced with a new filling. 

Deep Cleaning

gum recession

If your tooth sensitivity is the result of gum disease or exposed tooth roots, then a deep cleaning will likely be recommended. Gum disease happens when excess bacteria accumulate along the gum line. As gum disease progresses, it will eventually cause the gums to recede and expose the tooth roots. Since tooth roots are normally protected by the gums, they have less protective enamel and therefore are more likely to be affected by outside stimuli. To treat gum disease and encourage the gums to return to their original position, a deep cleaning will be used to remove excess bacteria from the gum pockets. 

Repair Teeth

If you have tooth sensitivity because your teeth are chipped, cracked, broken, or excessively worn, repairing your teeth will stop sensitivity. Just like a cavity allows stimuli inside the tooth, damaged or worn teeth can allow the same thing. There are a few different restorative treatments your dentist may recommend to repair broken or worn teeth. The right treatment for you will depend upon the type and extent of damage. 

Overall, there are various ways to stop tooth sensitivity. However, the key to stopping tooth sensitivity is centered around first identifying the cause of sensitivity and then treating that specific cause. In order to determine the cause of your sensitivity and receive the best restorative dental treatment to stop it, you should schedule an exam with your local dentist.