Preventing Tooth Squeeze: What to Do Before Your Next Dive Trip

Preparing for your next dive trip to Pulau Redang? Having your teeth checked beforehand may make all the difference between a great dive and a painful one.

A cracked tooth is a common occurrence in today’s highly stressful world, where bruxism, or teeth grinding, is on the rise. For divers, there is a certain condition that can occur when they are subjected to a high amount of pressure underwater. Even a hairline fracture in a tooth may propagate because diving exerts a large amount of pressure on your teeth.

What is Barodontalgia?

Barodontalgia, or tooth squeeze, is caused by dental caries, cracks, defective tooth restorations and jaw cysts. This is due to an expansion of trapped air in the tooth due to pressure changes as the diver goes deeper. It cannot be immediately detected, as the pain can occur a few hours or days after the diving activity. The symptoms include experiencing a toothache, bleeding of the gums, or having a broken tooth.

This condition can be worsened by already having a cracked tooth even before diving. There are a few things that you can do to prepare yourself before your dive.

  • Make sure your regulator mouthpiece fits. A poorly fitting mouthpiece places additional stress on your cracked tooth and worsens it.
  • If you feel pain on your teeth when chewing, see your dentist to get it checked out before your next dive.
  • If a cracked tooth or caries is detected, it should be treated before your trip. Waiting till after the dive may mean the difference between saving the tooth and extracting it.

Though dental surgery is not necessary to treat Barodontalgia, it’s still a good idea to take the necessary precautions against it. To be on the safe side, schedule a consultation with your dentist before your next diving trip.


Dr. Shawn Goh
BDS (Singapore), FRACDS (Australia), MDS (OMS) Hong Kong, FAMS (Singapore), MOSRCS (Edinburgh)