DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

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Diving with a cracked tooth

Dealing with a cracked toothMy dentist says I have a cracked tooth. Do I need to have this fixed before I dive again?

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