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Friggin tooth pains

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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looking for deeper water
Jan 26, 2002

I was out at the reef for 4 days doing my PADI rescue diver course. During it I got to do a bit of freediving I found that I couldn't dive deep because of an unbearable pain in between 2 of my teeth. It would sting like mad and I would immediately turn around and ascend the pressure would ease off and my tooth would make a chooooooooofffff noise as if a big truck had just stoped. Anyone experienced similar pains it ruined any chances of me getting some depth.

It's called a tooth squeeze and your best bet is to visit your local Dental Doc and have it checked out. sometimes its a one-off thing - has happened to me a few times - but typically it's a filling or a cavity with a small amount of air in it.

needs to be corrected if you want to continue diving.

Don't push it - I have a report around here someplace given to me by a Oral Surgeon I dive with - a guy pushed it and it shattered the tooth.

Your Padi Open Water Manual should have a description of tooth sqeeze in it. Get procelain fillings if you can afford it 'cause the metal ones can corrode and create air spaces in the teeth.

I've got to get one of my teeth done too!:(
Hey there Ivan,

PPPPPSSSSHHHHHHtttttt. Is that what it sounded like. I think that might need a major overhaul. If you visit the local dentist, and he can't find anything wrong with you, go to the mechanic and have the brake pads in your teeth checked out.:confused:

Seriously, you probably have a leaky filling. As far as porcelan fillings, that is a misnomer. They are called resin composites. There is no real difference what material they use to refill your tooth, you just need a new filling. Have the doc take a few pictures of your teeth and you will probably have a small cavity under your filling. As the tooth decomposes the filling gets gas trapped between it and the tooth. According to PV=nRT as you go deeper the pressure decreases and makes you want to chop your head off. Don't ignore pain, it hurts :). Also be careful with what was stated in the above post. If severe a tooth squeeze can blow out a tooth but this is extremely rare. Good luck. Let us know what happens

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Originally posted by Aquiles
Don't ignore pain, it hurts :).

awesome advice aquiles, :D simply splendid, rofl i dont think i would have ever though out if...:D


and when i had to get a filling done, i told my dentist to make sure he was doing it right (leaving for florida a few weeks later) and it seemed to take about twice as long as normal...(dont know if that good or bad, but i never had a problem)

Thanks guys I knew I could count on you guys to find problem.

Aquiles I guess it is a PPPSSSHIIITTTT sound, I did keep pushing it but the pain becomes so unbearable that the side of my face feels like it is going to crush. Going to book an appointment with dentist tomorrow.

In the famous words of Daffy duck! I don't like pain. It hurts me
:) Yep, a tooth squeeze can make you want to chop your head off. I gotta take a pathology test guys. I will see u L8TR


Hi folks. First post so I hope I do this right.

A year ago I had an abscessed tooth and the infection spread throughout my face. My entire nose swelled up with infection. Everything was fixed with a root canal - or so I thought.

This past summer I often found that my previously abscessed tooth became sore after a freediving session. My dentist seems to feel this is because there is a small canal between my tooth and sinuses due to the widespread infection I had. His theory is that every time I equalize my sinuses I'm also having to equalize this small canal, which in turn affects my tooth. Unfortunately there isn't much that can be done about it.

Has anyone else experienced this?


I dont know what an abcess is but that sounds pretty serious man. I dont get any swelling or anything just pain.

An abscess is an infection in your tooth which usually requires a root canal to get rid of. It also leaves the tooth dead as the entire pulp is removed and filled.

It can be pretty nasty.
Hey there jason,

First off, welcome to the site. Don't worry, for a new guy your post was great!.. I am a second year dental student and I will try to explain what happened to your tooth later. I just happened to look over the thread. You have a very good question that I will ask my professors. Most likely the abcess, a localized infection that can make your face look like you got hit by a hockey puck; spread and left a small space in the bone that now has to be equalized. I will try and elaborate, after my radiology final that I have in thirty minutes. I have taken 14 tests in nine days, I'm pooped!


Hi guys

Went to the Dentist today and she seemed to think its an Abcess. So she did dome work and said it will be ok till Christmas. I have to go to another dentist in Cairns where they will do some work which she said will take an hour. This should permantely fix the problem she said.

Hey there Jay,

Sorry it took so long to get back to you but I needed a vacation. The problem with an air space in a tooth is called in tech terms aerodontalgia, you can check the spelling on that for me. This is a simple air space trapped in a tooth. When this space is put under pressure it contracts. The laymans term for this is a tooth squeeze... When the receptors in the tooth feel the change you sense pain. Teeth can only feel two things pain or nothing. The sensation of pain is then cross referenced with your past experiences and is compared. It is then when you can sense heat or cold etc. Other wise pain in a tooth is like a light switch. It is either on or not, there is nothing in between.

As far as an abcess goes, it is an encapsulated infection within a tooth that can extrude itself beyond the root of the tooth where blood vessels and nerves enter it. If you apply pressure in this area it will be perceived as painful. Any stimulus can cause changes within a tooth even chewing causes internal changes within the tooth that can cause the pulp tissue within the tooth to be strangled from its blood supply causing necrosis(death) of the internal contents of the tooth. So, a cavity is not necessary to get a sensation of pain in a tooth.

Jayson I think that you stated that this problem left you with a little air space that you think or really might have to equallize. You are almost on your own on that one pal! :) The only two explinations for that is, the root canal tooth that you have feels different to you causing the sensation of an air space; or you were left with a little defect in the bone from the extent of the abcess that is not significant clinically but is noticeable to you upon decompression. These are my two somewhat educated i will say, guesses are to what you feel. I will ask more sources but until then these are my guesses and I'm stickin to em' :cool:
I hope this helps.

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I had one and only one experience with this in 2002, or ever, for that mater.

During a test ride on somebody's no-limits rig, I experienced a sudden sharp pain-in the-tooth during the last few seconds of the ascent.

I asked a diving dentist friend about this later, and he suggested the following: as with many people who now have fillings that have been in place for 35 years or more, some of mine no longer
fit the cavity very well due to continuing decay, continuous expansion and contraction due to temperature changes, etc.

So, on descent, air flows between my mouth and the spaces under my filling to keep the pressures equal in those two spaces.

During the very fast no-limits ascent, the air pressure in my mouth rapidly decreases, and the pressure gradient between my mouth and the space under the cavity becomes steep very fast, which somehow is the cause of the pain.

Beats me. I never have this happen during constant weight or free immersion dives, and never during scuba dives. I suppose the idea that the rapidity of NL descent/ascent makes sense as a cause, but I'm not completely comfy with my dentist pal's physics.

Hey Aquiles,

Thanks for your info. regarding my tooth pain.

Interesting to hear that tooth pain is either "on or off". I'm guessing that the pain I'm feeling is either in the gum, or jaw as the tooth itself is not dead following my root canal.

The important thing is that it hasn't caused me any problems when diving, just a little uncomfortable sensation after a long day in the water.

Thanks again.

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