OBJECTIVE: The aim of the POP (odontological problems among divers) study was to assess dental barotrauma among French military divers exposed to an underwater environment. METHODS: A questionnaire on dental barotrauma was completed by the divers who presented at the SMHEP (Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine and Diving Expertise) for their quadrennial medical exam from March 2011 to July 2014. RESULTS: There were 1317 questionnaires completed, representing 60.6% of all French military divers. A total of 5.3% of divers had a dental barotrauma (70/1317), mainly fracture and/or loss of dental restoration. Dental barotrauma disrupted diving in 34.3% of cases. A total of 76.4% of divers were informed by a military physician of the importance of maintaining good oral health and 88.5% of divers consult their dentist at least once a year. Of the participants, 82.5% made their dentist aware they are divers, but only 4.9% of the dental practitioners advised their patient not to dive after some types of dental treatments and 12.8% indicated that, as divers, they need adapted dental treatments. CONCLUSIONS: Dental barotrauma was experienced by 1 in 19 military divers. Nevertheless, a contradiction exists between the frequency of dental barotraumas and the rigorous medical and dental follow-up of military divers. We note that there is inadequate dental management of divers when dental issues are identified. To avoid this unsatisfactory situation, " diving dentistry " should be taught to military and civilian dentists and physicians to make them aware of the potential dental complications and preventive measures associated with operating in a subaquatic environment.
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© by the Aerospace Medical Association, Alexandria, VA.
- Dental barotrauma
- Diving dentistry