IN-FLIGHT BARODONTALGIA AMONG COMMERCIAL AND MILITARY PILOTS OF PAKISTANI ORIGIN
Keywords:Aviation Dentistry, human performance barodontalgia, flight safety
Background: Barodontalgia is defined as oral pain occurring due to changes in ambient pressure. It can be severe enough to cause inflight incapacitation and has a tendency to go undiagnosed in regular sickbays. There is a large variation in incidence of Barodontalgia in the literature and major fraction of epidemiological data on Barodontalgia has been compiled from military flight simulations. The aim of this study was to document the frequency of in-flight Barodontalgia in Pakistani military and civilian aircrew.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on (non- patient) civilian as well as military pilots. Subjects were given standardized and anonymous questionnaires to complete regarding demographic and professional characteristics, occurrence of oral pain during flying, character of pain, treatment seeking and recurrence of the pain.
Results: Out of the 100 subjects, 51 responded (response rate of 51%), with mean age 30.31 ± 5.634 Years; 17.6% (09) of these participants (All Civilian) reported at least one event of barodontalgia during their career. A total of 88 %( 8/9) of pilots visited their dentists after they had oral pain. The diagnosis rendered by their dental surgeons was always dental pain. None of the patients reported recurrence of the disease or premature mission termination due to dental pain. None of the military Pilots reported a n y e v e n t o f Barodontalgia.
Conclusion: Barodontalgia was reported exclusively by commercial pilots, which was of a minor non-recurrent nature and did not disrupt their health or flight routines.