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Dive Dentistry


How to become a Dive Dentist by Celehte Fortuin

I have just returned form Malta having successfully completed my Tech Refresher with my TTI*. Or I think I was successful anyway. The mere fact that I surfaced each day was enough for me, frankly. But the tantrum I had underwater, refusing to hand over my instructor's stage bottle that he very trustingly handed over to me as part of the drills, may be a different story. It's not that I didn't want to give it back; I was just really comfy with it. And I liked having the extra gas as a safety net (coz I breathe like a demon apparently).
London School Of Diving
I learnt a lot though. I learnt that just because you can't see Paul, doesn't mean he can't see you. I learnt that pretending to manicure the grass at your deco stop, does not let you off drill practice either, but rather earned you That Look. All you students/ buddies/protégés of Paul know exactly what I mean. You know the one that says either 'You dweeb' or 'I saw that, you numpty' or 'Seriously, you wanna try that again?' I also learnt how to dodge a crazy current, I learnt that hide and seek with twins and stages between the boulders is not that successful (it's a bubble thing. I sooooo should have done the rebreather course), and I learnt that being part of an exploration team means you can't wear flip flops to scale cliffs. But more than anything, I learnt to have fun with my twins again! Yup... You read it here first, me and my twins... Closer than two close things I tell you.

So, what a summer (hooray!), London emptied like someone pulled the plug and us landlocked divers went mental with our toys, heading down to where the water is wetter (scientifically this is somewhere below the height of your snorkel and the bottom of the body of water you are anticipating blowing bubbles from – fact).

SO, how to combine your absolute favouritest (that is a word) hobby with your daily grind...?

Q I am a newly qualified dentist and would like to become a diving dentist. Is this a new speciality and how do I go about achieving this?
DD The short version is become a diver and Hey Presto... You're a diving dentist! Right, job done, see you at thirty-five metres around 4pm; I'll be the one looking like a UST*. Seriously though, I don't make these questions up, I just answer them. And in the spirit of being thorough, I have devised a 10 step programme for other thrill seekers out there. Following these you can never go wrong.

STEP 1 Buy an XXXXXLLL (very big) bottle of Superglue. The kind that has the whole "Don't-mess-with- me-you-fool" type of attitude to it.

STEP 2 Enrol into a dentistry programme at a University near you for the next five to six years (university and aptitude depending).

STEP 3 Apply said glue (see step 1) to your derrière for number of years in step 2. Assume the position – head down, back bent and looking absolutely terrified that you'll never actually see daylight, never mind SCUBA ever again.

STEP 4 To pay for this education you will need to bankrupt your parents and/or become indebted to your bank or building society for at least double the amount of time specified in step 2 by your educational facility. The only benefit here is that family and friends will be buying your drinks at the local for a VERY long time with the understanding, that as a newly qualified dentist, you will be broke for the rest of your young adult life.

STEP 5 Upon successful completion of your degree, apply for a position as dentist and start practising dentistry. That's right people – practise – every day, on every patient, assuming the position as per step 3.

STEP 6 When the bank has torn up the life insurance policy you were required to take out to cover the obscene amount of money lent to you for your dental degree, and you have actually managed to go back to black... Crawl back immediately and beg for more dosh.

STEP 7 Enrol in a Diver Education Programme at your local dive school and start blowing bubbles.

STEP 8 If you're fortunate, the dive club will have bribed a few of their regulars to be your buddy to instill a false sense of security. If you're still blowing bubbles, it's only because they have not figured out how to 'off' a dentist without getting caught yet. (Although, if you speak to my buddy he has a few VERY clear ideas of how this should be done).

STEP 9 Qualify from your diver training programme and agency and Hey Presto – you are now a Diving Dentist. (In your own eyes, that is. Continue onto next step if not completely satisfied).
STEP 10 If the buddies/friends/patients/ victims still don't call you Diving Dentist, try annoying everyone by continually referring to yourself as the DD... It will catch on... Or they will drown you.

I don't quite know how any diver training agencies have not figured out the fact there's a buck to be made from this yet. But I suspect that this may be included in the next speciality listing soon.

TTI – Tattooed Technical Instructor.

UST – Unidentified Scary Thing.

Celehte can still be found singing her way through her day whilst wearing full Scuba gear. This may look odd, but not as odd as other things we've seen. Any questions or queries can be sent here or you can call Fulham Dental Care on 020 7610 9400.
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