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Tooth Squeeze

What is tooth squeeze?

Patient Comments
  • Tooth squeeze occurs during a scuba diving ascent when air is trapped in a dental filling or cavity.
  • As a diver goes deeper under water, air can enter a cavity or dental filling area.
  • As the diver begins to surface that air (or gas) expands and is "trapped" resulting in pain to that area.
  • Pain can occur on descent due to a "vacuum" effect however it is not common.
  • Tooth squeeze is more likely to occur in divers with tooth decay, dental infections, or recent tooth extraction or fillings.

Tooth Squeeze Symptoms

Symptoms of tooth squeeze include:

Pain in the face and upper teeth is more commonly associated with sinus squeeze.

Tooth Squeeze Treatment

  • If experiencing tooth squeeze, avoid diving until recovery is complete.
  • Pain may be relieved with acetaminophen or ibuprofen taken according to the manufacturer's recommendation.

When to Seek Medical Care

  • If experiencing tooth squeeze, have a dental evaluation and have any damage repaired.

Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCE: DAN.org. Dental Distress.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/4/2016
Medical Author:

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Tooth Squeeze - Patient Experience

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Dysbarism »

Although dysbarism includes problems associated with high altitude and aerospace endeavors, dysbarism also relates to the increasing pressures of descending under water that are usually experienced in free or assisted dives.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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