Forget sharks, barracudas or the bends. A big worry of scuba diving may be the dental bill.
A new survey of recreational scuba divers finds that 41 percent report dental problems related to diving. Most of the problems had to do with pain from the increased pressure underwater or from clutching the air regulator too tightly in their mouths, but a few people experienced loosened crowns or cracked fillings.
The survey was limited, but suggests that people should make sure their teeth are in good shape before they go deep, said lead researcher Vinisha Ranna, a student at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine.
An unhealthy tooth underwater would be much more obvious than on the surface," Ranna said in a statement. "One hundred feet underwater is the last place you want to be with a fractured tooth.
Ranna, a certified stress-and-rescue scuba diver, first became interested in the effect of diving on teeth as a rookie diver in 2013. While underwater, she experienced "barodontalgia," a condition familiar to many divers but less well-known to landlubbers. Barodontalgia is a toothache caused by the increase in pressure felt underwater (it can also happen at high altitudes because of low pressure). The condition, which occurs while the person is in the high- or low-pressure environment, is most common in people who have some sort of underlying dental condition, like a cavity or poorly completed filling.
Ranna developed a survey to find out how common barodontalgia and other dental symptoms might be for scuba divers. She distributed links to the online survey through social media sites for divers and got 100 responses. Because this sample is limited and not random, it isn't representative of scuba divers as a whole.
Forty-one percent of respondents said they'd experienced dental symptoms while diving. Of those, 42 percent said they'd had barodontalgia. The second-most common symptom was pain from holding the air regulator too tightly (24 percent of those who'd had a dental symptom), and the third-most common problem was jaw pain (22 percent of those who'd had a dental symptom).
If you are planning a trip that includes Scuba Diving, contact our Liverpool Dentist for a check up to make sure your teeth are in good shape.