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tooth squeeze

pain caused by the expansion or contraction of air beneath the filling of a tooth when pressure within the mouth cavity is increased or decreased. Aircraft pilots and underwater divers are common victims of tooth squeeze, as the pressures that they experience vary widely from the normal atmospheric pressures. As one goes deeper under water, pressure increases. Air beneath a filling is reduced in volume by this increased pressure. At sufficient depth, the walls of the tooth can begin to collapse and implode. In the upper atmosphere, on the other hand, the pressure is reduced. In this case air trapped under a filling begins to expand. Sufficient decrease in surrounding pressure causes rupture and explosion of the walls of the tooth. In both cases intense pain is felt in the affected tooth. The affliction can be remedied by having a new filling placed in the tooth, with all the air spaces properly replaced by the filling material.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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