Top dentist warns divers about dental health underwater

A dentist is warning keen divers to ensure their teeth are in good health, to avoid pressure-induced pain.

Dr Richard Coates, who works at award-winning Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry, is himself a scuba diver who has seen many cases of barodontalgia - pain in the teeth caused by being underwater.

Now he is encouraging divers to check they don't have poorly executed fillings or cavities, to avoid the possibility of problems when they dive.

Around 42 per cent of scuba divers have reported suffering from barodontalgia at one time or another, some having such intense pain that they have had to give up the sport.

"Barodontalgia is usually due to an air-filled void or cavity in the tooth or beneath a restoration," said Dr Coates, who works at Riveredge's Sunderland surgery.

"The air-filled space wants to change size in response to changing pressure situations during scuba diving and this causes intense pain.

"I have treated many commercial and recreational divers who experience this and the treatment can be difficult.

"However, a dentist with advanced skills and suitable post graduate education in placement of well bonded composite resin/porcelain restorations can immediately alleviate these symptoms by identifying the cause and restoring the tooth appropriately.

"I have known commercial divers who have taken career breaks as a consequence of barodontalgia, until they found out that these symptoms can be alleviated with the appropriate advanced dental care. As such, this condition can have serious consequences."

Dr Coates said divers can also suffer from jaw pain, usually related to the prolonged use of diving mouthpieces.

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