If you are planning a scuba diving session at your next holiday destination, first see a dentist! Due to the constant jaw clenching and fluctuations in the atmospheric pressure underwater, divers may experience symptoms that range from tooth, jaw and gum pain to loosened crowns and broken dental fillings, says a study.
Recreational divers should consider consulting with their dentist before diving if they recently received dental care, said lead author Vinisha Ranna from the University at Buffalo in New York.
“Divers are required to meet a standard of medical fitness before certification, but there are no dental health prerequisites,” Ranna, who is also a certified stress and rescue scuba diver, noted.
“Considering the air supply regulator is held in the mouth, any disorder in the oral cavity can potentially increase the diver’s risk of injury. A dentist can look and see if diving is affecting a patient’s oral health,” Ranna said.
The findings, published in the British Dental Journal, are based on responses from 100 certified recreational divers.
The goal of the research was to identify the dental symptoms that divers experience and detect trends in how or when they occur.
Of the 41 participants who reported dental symptoms, 42 per cent experienced a squeezing sensation in their teeth — a condition known as barodontalgia — 24 per cent described pain from holding the air regulator in their mouths too tightly and 22 per cent reported jaw pain.
Another five per cent noted that their crowns were loosened during their dive, and one person reported a broken dental filling.
“The potential for damage is high during scuba diving,” Ranna said.