Incidence and features of barodontalgia among military divers

Mathieu Gunepin*, Florence Derache, Jean Eric Blatteau, Idan Nakdimon, Yehuda Zadik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Divers are vulnerable to barodontalgia (atmospheric pressure change related dental pain), which may jeopardize diving safety and mission completion. Our aim 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 commando/clearance divers (Group A) and ship divers (Group B). Results: All the requested 1389 divers agreed to participate in the study (100%) and 1317 divers (94.8%) who fully completed the questionnaire were included in the analysis. Of these 1317 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). Discussion: Barodontalgia mostly appeared in the maxilla and during descent; therefore, a great role for barosinusitis in the etiology 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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)137-140
Number of pages4
JournalAerospace medicine and human performance
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© by the Aerospace Medical Association, Alexandria, VA.


  • Dental pain
  • Diving medicine
  • Military medicine
  • Sport dentistry
  • Sport medicine


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