Research | Published:

Prevalence of dental problems in recreational SCUBA divers: a pilot survey

BDJ volume 221, pages 577581 (04 November 2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Objective To determine the prevalence of dental symptoms in recreational scuba divers and describe the distribution of these symptoms on the basis of diver demographics, diving qualifications and dive conditions during the episode of dental pain.

Design A survey was designed and distributed through online social media platforms dedicated to scuba diving. A convenience sample of 100 recreational divers was obtained by this method.

Main outcome measures The outcome measures of interest were: diver demographics, diving characteristics (level of certification, number of dives completed), occurrence of dental problems during a dive, and details of the episode.

Results Forty-one percent of the respondents experienced dental symptoms during a dive. Barodontalgia was the most frequently experienced dental symptom during a dive.

Conclusion Within the limits of the small sample size and online method of recruitment, the findings of this study suggest that a high proportion of recreational divers may experience dental symptoms during a dive. It would be meaningful to ensure that dental decay and damaged restorations are addressed before a dive and that the mouthpiece design be evaluated in case of complaints of temporomandibular discomfort during a dive.

Key points

  • Highlights that the prevalence of dental discomfort during a dive among recreational scuba divers is high.

  • Suggests that scuba diving instructors may be more likely to experience oro-facial pain during a dive.

  • Demonstrates that molar teeth were most commonly involved in an episode of diving related dental pain.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo - NY, US

    • V. Ranna
  2. Department of General Dentistry - Eastman Institute for Oral Health, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, NY, USA

    • H. Malmstrom
    •  & M. Yunker
  3. Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology - Eastman Institute for Oral Health, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, NY, USA

    • C. Feng
  4. Department of Community Dentistry and Oral Disease Prevention - Eastman Institute for Oral Health, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, NY, USA

    • S. Gajendra

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to V. Ranna.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2016.825

Refereed Paper

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