Symptoms and Signs of Tooth Squeeze

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 11/8/2021

Doctor's Notes on Tooth Squeeze

Tooth squeeze is a condition that occurs often in scuba divers during ascent (coming back to the surface) when air is trapped in a dental filling or cavity. As a person is diving under water, air or gas can enter a cavity or dental filling. When the diver ascends to the surface, that air or gas expands and becomes “trapped,” causing pain.  Tooth squeeze is more common in divers who have tooth decay, dental infections, or recent tooth extractions or fillings. Pain may also occur on descent (diving down) due to a “vacuum” effect but this is not common.

Symptoms of tooth squeeze include

If symptoms include pain in the face and upper teeth this may be due to sinus squeeze.

What Is the Treatment for Tooth Squeeze?

If you have tooth squeeze symptoms see a dentist because early treatment can save your teeth from further injury. Home remedies to relive the symptoms of tooth squeeze include:

The best way to avoid tooth squeeze to begin with is to take care of your teeth. Before you dive, see your dentist for an exam. Maintain a regular oral care routine to prevent any decay. If you do have dental work or tooth replacement wait at least 24 hours before diving. If you have oral surgery, wait a week before resuming diving.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.