A cracked tooth can often be repaired with a dental restoration such as a filling or crown. A cracked tooth may lead to a split tooth, however. If left untreated, it must be extracted.
If an extraction is necessary, it should be done before a dive vacation. The split creates a pathway for bacteria in the saliva to get into the bone tissue, causing pain and swelling. A split tooth can be so painful for a diver that it can prevent one from holding a regulator in the mouth.
If your dentist or endodontist finds that you have a cracked tooth that requires extraction, have the procedure several weeks before the dive trip. This will allow enough time for possible follow-up care.
Linda Bascom, DDS, and John Monk, MS