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ISSUE 14 ARCHIVE - DIVING DENTIST

Celehte Fortuin

Whoosh, actually more like wooooooosssshhhhhh. That was the sound of this issue’s deadline as it went past. And if it wasn’t for the fact that sweet Juliet had been playing with her awesomely cute baby girl, the whoosh would have been followed by some whip cracking (did you check out the suck
up, smooth eh?). This late delivery also means that the most important part of proofreading done by the world’s best proof reader (hi Mom!) has not been done. That’s the only excuse I can come up with for what can be found in the rest of this extremely technical and challenging article of Tanked Up. That, plus it was summer, technically, in my world, in the UK. So, with the excuses out the way let’s roll on and see what little gems await in this Q&A for the DD!

Q: My son Darren, who is 12 really wants to go SCUBA diving. His school has courses running all through the year. But the problem with Darren is that he has really awful teeth that stick forward and frankly makes him look like a rabbit. His dentist has suggested braces but I can’t see how keeping his trousers up will help! My question to you is – will having a regulator in his mouth make his teeth worse? And also is there a problem with diving with braces in his mouth.

Yours truly, Simon

DD: Can I just say bravo to Darren for wanting to take up this wild and exciting sport of scuba diving, and my commiserations to the poor lad for two reasons: a loving Dad who thinks he looks like a rabbit and the fact his trousers won’t stay up. The latter I think may be a family matter better discussed in private rather than the public pages of Tanked Up. Orthodontics to correct his misaligned teeth at this age
is very common and the good news is it matters very little diving with braces (the kind that straighten the teeth). He may
want to invest in a specially formed regulator mouthpiece that is softer and more flexible and one that allows space for the braces that will be on the teeth. This is rarely indicated, but if Darren has such a severe overjet (the amount the front teeth stick out over the bottom teeth), he may need something special until the alignment of the front teeth is sorted. Scuba diving certainly will not make the tooth situation worse should Darren decide not to have the braces. And maybe he just enjoys this low-hanging trouser craze sweeping the nation’s youth. Me personally – straight teeth and no sign of branded underwear is the way forward!

Q: Last week my best mate knocked out my front tooth with a spanner. I have booked a tech diving course in Malta and have to go to that in a weeks time. Does it matter that I delay the replacement tooth for a while, i.e. is it harder to implant the later you leave it? Also are there any implications on my diving with a gap at the front?

Jeff Butcher, Stoke

DD: Having spanners as mates has the rare implication that they can sometimes act like said tool and do some damage. This may be a bit harsh as I am sure the incident was an accident, either way, the point is they leave lasting impressions. One I am sure you will also make upon your arrival in Malta for said Tech Course sans front tooth. However, I am sure that you will still dazzle with your diving abilities and, as you‘ll be hanging around the 6m mark sub aqua for the better part of your holiday, I wouldn‘t worry too much about this. Diving without the front tooth will certainly not give you any problems, especially as I suppose your main concern here is regulator retention. If this is the only tooth missing – dive in and dive on.

Ideally, in a case of simple tooth loss in the absence of any other soft tissue or bony trauma, we would like to place an implant as quickly as we can after trauma to ensure no further tooth-bearing bone loss takes place. However, if the spanner (the tool not your mate) did more damage to the bone, then further treatment like bone augmentation is needed to support an implant anyway, in which case a delay is not that detrimental to implant placement. I take it your dentist has taken x-rays, assessed and reassured. And, as you are well on your way to 100m (btw, that far down, no one can hear you scream – or sing, anyway) with the tech diving course still on... well, of course, all that’s left to say is, safe diving and make sure you take a snorkel. You’re going to need it. Just ask Auntie Toomer.

Q: You know the pictures on packs of fags at the moment. Pretty gruesome eh! As
a Shane MacGowan impersonator, I am hoping to get teeth like in one of the pictures. How many fags will it take to get like that? Will it affect my diving too?

Kieran Brady, London

DD: Dear Kieran. If I recall correctly, our dear Mr. MacGowan’s teeth were far from a fairytale in New York. In fact, so far removed that they reportedly airbrushed some teeth onto a publicity shot for him over in the US of A. As you are so obviously unaware of my hard line against smoking and diving and my extremely fascist stand on flossing (nearly as hard and fast a rule as the deadline for this article), may I politely suggest you quit smoking... as in right now. In fact, you may want to contact the guys at the dive chamber and have a little once over in their pot just
to get the old oxygen levels up a tad. I am legally bound to give sound information only, therefore may I further suggest in addition
to my smoking cessation advise, you also quit diving whilst ahead. Apparently it plays havoc on the numbers they need to enter when they have to treat you for the bends.

Any questions for the Diving Dentist can be sent to Celehte.

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