Scuba diving is a sport that is enjoyed by about 4 million people in the Unites States. But do you know that you should visit your dentist before diving? This is because divers may experience symptoms that range from tooth, jaw and gum pain to loosened crowns and broken dental fillings.
An online study conducted by people from the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine concluded that scuba diving can lead to dental issues. The research was inspired by the scuba experience of the lead author of the study, Vinisha Ranna.
Ranna created an online survey that was distributed to 100 certified recreational divers. 41% of them reported dental problems. Of this percentage, some of them (42%) reported barodontalgia (tooth squeeze), 24% described pain from holding the air regulator in their mouths too tightly and 22% reported jaw pain. Also 5% noted that their crowns were loosened during their dive and one person reported a broken filling. The causes are related to the constant jaw clenching down on the regulator and to the atmospheric pressure fluctuations.
The term “barodontalgia” refers to the pain that a person experiences in one or more teeth while being subjected to low or high pressure. For example, during a flight a person may experience barodontalgia because of the high altitudes. Scuba divers can also experience this condition because of the high amount of pressure felt while diving deep below the surface.
The author of the study also concluded that patients should ensure that dental decay and restorations are addressed before a dive. Also for prevention of dislodgement and aspiration, patients should be advised not to dive while having provisional restorations or temporary cement in their mouth.
So enjoy your scuba, but take care of your teeth. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the way scuba diving affects your oral health. 610.647.7611 is our phone number.