What is the Incidence & Features of Barodontalgia Among Military Divers?

Research Paper Title

Incidence and Features of Barodontalgia Among Military Divers.

Background

Divers are vulnerable to barodontalgia (atmospheric pressure change related dental pain), which may jeopardise diving safety and mission completion.

The aim of the researchers was to investigate the experience of barodontalgia among western military divers.

Methods

French Armed Forces diving personnel were asked to answer a structured questionnaire including questions regarding their oral health, diving and career features, and barodontalgia while diving. For analysis, the participants were divided into:

  • Group A: Commando/clearance divers; and
  • Group B: Ship divers.

Results

All the requested 1,389 divers agreed to participate in the study (100%) and 1,317 divers (94.8%) who fully completed the questionnaire were included in the analysis.

Of these 1,317 individuals, 96 (7.3%) suffered from at least 1 episode of barodontalgia while diving, with a total of 119 episodes of barodontalgia.

Barodontalgia was more frequent in the upper (62.2%) than the lower dentition (37.8%) (OR = 2.7; 95% CI, 1.6-4.5) and appeared more common during descent (77.3%) than ascent (22.7%) (OR = 11.6; 95% CI, 6.3-31.3).

Barodontalgia experience was higher in divers who have an examination less than once per year (14.5%) in comparison to divers who usually have a dental examination once a year or more (6.3%) (OR = 2.5; 95% CI, 1.5-4.2).

Conclusions

Barodontalgia mostly appeared in the maxilla and during descent; therefore, a great role for barosinusitis in the aetiology of oral pain while diving may be suggested.

The infrequent experience of barodontalgia in divers who routinely visit the dentist once a year or more suggests that the risk of barodontalgia might decrease with the maintenance of a good oral status.

Reference

Gunepin, M., Derache, F., Blatteau, J.E., Nakdimon, I. & Zadik, Y. (2018) Incidence and Features of Barodontalgia Among Military Divers. Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 87(2), pp.137-140. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.4424.2016.

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