Tooth Squeeze

What is tooth squeeze?

Tooth decay
Symptoms of tooth squeeze include toothache after diving, bleeding around the gums, or a broken tooth.
  • Tooth squeeze occurs during a scuba diving ascent when air is trapped in a dental filling or cavity.
  • As a diver goes deeper underwater, 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 the 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 is 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.

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

REFERENCE: Dental Distress.