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Tooth Squeeze

  • Medical Author: Scott D. Fell, DO, FAAEM
  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Wilderness: Tooth Squeeze Related Articles

What is tooth squeeze?

  • 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.


What causes tooth decay? See Answer

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Reviewed on 11/20/2017
Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCE: DAN.org. Dental Distress.

Patient Comments & Reviews

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