has filled in the empty sockets, eliminating any air pockets. An unhealed socket can be a route for infection as well as for air to enter subcutaneous tissues and cause further injury. Pain medication can impair your judgment underwater, so wait at least a couple of days after you finish taking it to resume diving.
>Following the extraction of upper wisdom teeth, the dentist should verify that there is no sinus involvement. The root tip of a molar can breach the maxillary sinus floor, resulting in a communication (abnormal connection) between the mouth and the sinus. This is not common, but if it occurs it will further delay your return to diving. If there is sinus involvement, you should wait until the fistula (hole) is closed and healed before you resume diving. Your dentist or oral surgeon will be able to tell you how long this should take.
>Discomfort, tenderness or delayed healing can make it difficult to hold a regulator mouthpiece, depending on the tooth or teeth involved and the length of the mouthpiece's flanges. After your dentist or endodontist approves a return to diving, consider taking your scuba gear to a local pool. Swim laps underwater to confirm that breathing through your regulator does not cause any discomfort.
— Frances Smith, MS, EMT-P, DMT>I'm an emergency medical technician (EMT) and a new diver. I understand the importance of administering oxygen to injured divers. When we administer it on the ambulance, we monitor patients' oxygen saturation using a pulse oximeter. Would this device be helpful when assessing the well-being of an injured diver?
>Health-care professionals use pulse oximeters to measure hemoglobin saturation: the percentage of hemoglobin binding sites occupied by oxygen. These devices are placed on the ends of patients' fingers and function based on the difference in color between oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. A normal value for a person breathing air at a low to moderate altitude would be 95-100 percent. A value below that would warrant medical attention.
>Hypoxemia (low blood oxygen) is often associated with chronic illnesses such as respiratory disorders, and people with this condition may require prolonged supplemental oxygen therapy and monitoring. Generally these people are not medically fit to dive.
>The role of oxygen in diving injuries is to promote washout of inert gas and enhance delivery of oxygen to compromised tissues. When providing supplemental oxygen to an injured diver, pulse oximeters are not used to measure oxygen treatment effectiveness or to assess inert gas washout.
— Scott Smith, EMT-P>© Alert Diver — Q3 Summer 2017