Diving dentistry: a review of the dental implications of scuba diving


Dr Y Zadik
Department of Oral Medicine Hebrew University – Hadassah School of Dental Medicine PO Box 91120 Jerusalem
Email: yzadik@gmail.com


In light of the overwhelming popularity of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) diving, general dental practitioners should be prepared to address complications arising as a result of diving and to provide patients with accurate information. The aim of this article was to introduce the concepts of diving medicine and dentistry to the dentist, and to supply the dental practitioner with some diagnostic tools as well as treatment guidelines. The literature was reviewed to address diving barotrauma (pressure-induced injury related to an air space) to the head, face and oral regions, as well as scuba mouthpiece-related oral conditions. The relevant conditions for dentists who treat divers include diving-associated headache (migraine, tension-type headache), barosinusitis and barotitis-media (sinus and middle ear barotrauma, respectively), neuropathy, trigeminal (CN V) or facial (CN VII) nerve baroparesis (pressure-induced palsy), dental barotrauma (barometric-related tooth injury), barodontalgia (barometric-related dental pain), mouthpiece-associated herpes infection, pharyngeal gag reflex and temporomandibular joint disorder (dysfunction). For each condition, a theoretical description is followed by practical recommendations for the dental practitioner for the prevention and management of the condition.