Ever hear of a tooth exploding in someone’s mouth? Well, it is possible and it has happened.
The phenomenon is called barodontocrexis; what a fantastic word – ba-ro-don-to-cre-xis (from the Greek for tooth explosion). It occurs in the scuba diving world when trauma to a tooth is induced, causing it to shatter by the change in barometric pressure on ascending from a dive. It has been known to affect decayed teeth and teeth with faulty fillings.
The concern is that the incident can potentially lead to severe pain, swallowing of the tooth fragments or even their aspiration. As a worst case scenario, this has the potential to cause sudden incapacitation and premature discontinuation of the dive.
Fortunately, the prevalence is rare, reportedly affecting less than 1% of divers…
Zadik Y, Drucker S.
Aust Dent J. 2011 Sep;56(3):265-71.