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ISSUE 19 ARCHIVE - DIVE DENTIST

Celehte Fortuin

I did my Scuba Review about 2 months ago. Oh yes, I am the driest diver no more. After locating the allusive log book and dusting off my kit, the review took place in brilliant sunshine in an outdoor pool in Brisbane. This was followed quick smart by a wreck dive! Ah bliss, a balmy 25 ̊C at 30m.

Yes, I have turned into a warm water diver. Those hated species of lucky so-and-so's constantly bragging about how hot the water was, the viz that went on for miles and a surface interval where we had to run for shade for fear of sunstroke. How did it go I hear you ask? It went swimmingly, or more appropriately, divingly. (This is now an official word) Preparing for my review and the subsequent wreck dive, brought to my twisted mind the similarities between diving and teeth. From preparation to maintenance of gear, to maintenance of teeth to ensure pain free safe diving and general well being of our oral health.

So here you have it divers, read on for a very handy guide to remind us of the direct relationship between our teeth and our diving! Not only will we look good diving following the dive rules, but the chances of chatting up the fellow diver with a dazzling smile will now become easier! Until next time, safe diving and happy flossing everyone!

So letís see how we compare:

Dive Kit Assembly

Fins, boots, suit, BCD, regulators, mask, dive tank.

Tooth Kit Assembly

Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, interdental brushes, mouthwash.

Pre dive Safety check

BWRAF - BCD, weights, releases, air, final OK,

safety procedures overviewed.

Pre day breath check

BWRAF- Brushing with regular, accurate flossing.

Dive plan and execution

Commonly planned by the dive leader to ensure that the dive is executed safely, comfortably and gives divers an opportunity to discuss concerns about the dive and what to expect in the big drink. Maximum depth and dive time is agreed upon and safety procedures overviewed.

Treatment planning and execution

Treatment plans are generally put together and executed by dental professionals after careful consideration and consent from their patients. We discuss your concerns regarding certain teeth and their behaviour on the last dive trip, recommend solutions and execute them to ensure the offending teeth and or implants/ dentures/braces behave well to afford you a safe and comfortable dive.

Surface Interval

After our pleasant dive, where we sat on the discarded toilet bowls, dived through swim through and marvelled at the fishies and other unidentified scary things, we take a well-deserved break, rehydrate and marvel at our bodies ability to off gas... in the most natural way possible!

Routine check-ups

After the usual drilling and filling, cleaning and polishing we marvel at your shiny toothy pegs, we take a break for 6 months before we harass you again to undergo more of the same cleaning and polishing. If you've been a bit naughty we recall you in 4 months' time.

Maintaining our kit

We are generally recommended by our dive pros where we acquired our kit, on the importance of routine maintenance of our gear. Our regulators are inspected, disassembled, O-rings and thingies changed, reassembled, serviced and given the all-clear. Our BCDs and Wings are serviced, leaks repaired and inflator/ deflators maintained. Our tanks are serviced and inspected, pressure tested and stamped with a next review date. Everything meticulously done to ensure our safety under water.

Maintaining our teeth

Regular 6 monthly (or 4 months in the case of you naughty ones) check-ups are done to ensure that no fillings are degrading. We probe, pick, flick, push and prod to make sure there are no chips, loose fillings, gum disease, strange growths, trauma and broken teeth. We take routine x-rays to see beneath the fillings, between the teeth, evaluate the bone status and rule out silent infections or deep root fractures. We fix, repair, clean and polish and nag again to floss your teeth, especially the ones you want to keep.

Diving Emergencies

So you're on your dive and you have a total dive malfunction. Your buoyancy device springs a leak or inflates of its own accord, you hear those final death throw bleeps from your dive computer as it tells you it is now on a permanent break, your mask gets hooked on the wreck and is dangling behind you because your BCD did its own thing, your buddy is somewhere in the engine room and your light has just failed. OK, so for all these things to happen at once is pretty rare, but in my pre-dive mental check list this is normally the scene that plays out in my mind and usually results in me entering the water with a pounding heart. The good news is that your training has prepared you for most of these things and the basic rule of thumb is get to the surface, have a little cry, ring your mom and go back down to continue aborting your dive and ascending in a SAFE manner to ensure longevity.

Tooth Emergencies

A few scenarios relating to teeth emergencies:

You laughed so hard at your buddy you lost your dentures, your braces decided to get mean and attach themselves to your mouthpiece, you dived so deep and so fast your tooth squeezed itself back into the bone, you ascended so fast your tooth exploded, you got so nervous seeing the oceanic whitetip that you bit your tongue, it's now smelling blood and chasing you up the boat ladder. Again, rare things to happen but you know how my mind works by now. You'll be happy to hear that with a tooth emergency, things are much simpler! You will normally feel a little discomfort on your first dive of your trip surrounding that dodgy tooth that you now vividly recall your dentist wanting to fix at your last visit. Worst case scenario, if the problem persists, you make a call to abort the dive, very slowly ascending allowing for compressed air to make its way out of the offending tooth/sinus. The fix? Seek dental help where you are if on a long trip. If not, go and see your friendly dentist.

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