(480) 899-52402470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

Daniel G. Kline DDS - Chandler Dentist

(480) 899-5240

2470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

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Scuba Divers Come See Me (Here’s Why!)

Posted by Editor in , , on April 6, 2017


If you’re asked to name a hobby that sends participants to the dentist, hockey probably comes to mind. However, in a surprise twist, scuba divers actually see their dentist at a higher rate per capita than almost any other hobby! According to research published in Live Science, 41 percent of scuba divers’ dental woes stem from diving. It’s that extra underwater pressure coupled with grasping air regulators too tightly that does the trick. In some severe cases, divers even report cracked fillings and loose crowns.

Although the research was limited, since the “pool” is so small, it’s worth considering if you love diving. Before diving, make sure you have a clean bill of health from your dentist. According to Vinsha Ranna, lead researcher and student at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, “An unhealthy tooth underwater would be much more obvious than on the surface. One hundred feet underwater is the last place you want to be with a fractured tooth.” Oftentimes, divers don’t even realize they have a pre-existing condition until it’s too late and they’re underwater—which is why seeing your dentist first is a must.

Water Woes

Ranna is also a certified stress and rescue scuba diver, which is what sparked her interest in the link between dental health and diving. She’s experienced “diver’s toothache” herself, also known as “barodontalgia.” This is a type of toothache that’s caused by underwater pressure increases. It can also be felt in low pressure at high altitudes, but that’s much less common. Most of the time, barodontalgia occurs when a person already has a broken filling or cavity.

Ranna’s survey was offered online and received 100 responses. According to respondents, 42 percent reported self-diagnosed barodontalgia. Common admissions included holding air regulators tightly and jaw pain. Five percent said a crown loosened during a dive, and one person reported broken fillings. As a followup, Ranna is currently conducting a study with 1,000 divers.