In the US alone, about 4 million people regularly include diving in their list of things to do while on holiday. Diving can be an incredible experience; however, it is not without its dental downsides. For instance, some divers suffer from diver's mouth syndrome, which includes symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches and gum lacerations. These symptoms are caused by the constant need to lug around a heavy air tank whilst biting down on the regulator. Some divers also suffer tooth pain due to the changes in pressure they experience when descending for their dive.
It is also common knowledge that those who are new to diving may grip the regulator between their teeth with too much force while diving for fear that it may pop out of their mouth if they don't apply sufficient pressure. This puts teeth, jaws and gums under unnecessary strain. As a denture wearer, there are additional issues to deal with, each of which will be covered here along with some advice on how to remedy them.
Remove Small Partial Dentures Before Diving
Smaller dentures, such as partials that replace only one or two teeth, can become a choking hazard. For people with dentures recently introduced to diving or those who recently acquired dentures, it is advisable to remove smaller dentures while diving as you may inadvertently suck them into your throat whilst breathing through your regulator. This may be less of an issue for more experienced divers, but still be cautious if you're new to having dentures.
Use Denture Adhesive
While breathing through their regulator, under pressure from the water around them, it is common for divers to experience dry mouth. This is an issue because dentures rely on the suction effect created by the saliva and trapped air between the gums and dentures, essentially a vacuum, to keep the dentures in place. This vacuum effect is reduced when diving due to the dry air and pressure; subsequently, your dentures may move around, making it hard for you to grip the regulator with your teeth.
Before diving, apply some denture adhesive to ensure your denture remains in a stable position.
Wear a Custom Mouthpiece
You can also have a custom mouthpiece made for you at local dive shops, which removes the risks associated with biting down on a regulator while diving. The Comfo-Bite mouthpiece, for example, takes the pressure off your dentures and teeth while you dive so you can focus on enjoying the sights rather than keeping your regulator in.
Ensure Your Dentures Are a Good Fit
Diving in dentures that don't fit particularly well is risky. Ill-fitting dentures may pop out on land, and as you attempt to keep your regulator in, they could become even more problematic. Before diving, see your dentist for a reline if necessary to ensure that your dentures are secure.
Utilise Dental Implants to Secure Your Dentures
The most effective and comfortable way of ensuring your dentures don't ruin a dive is to invest in dental implants. Because dental implants integrate with your jawbone, they are quite secure. By getting dental implants to secure a denture several months in advance of your next dive, to allow for healing and integration, you can be sure that you won't experience any movement in your mouth as you dive. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy your aquatic adventure without having to worry about keeping your dentures where they should be.