Aviation dentistry: current concepts and practice

Br Dent J. 2009 Jan 10;206(1):11-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2008.1121.


Background: With the growing number of air passengers, flight attendants, leisure pilots as well as military and airline pilots, dentists may increasingly encounter flight-related oral conditions requiring treatment. Moreover, dentists should prevent the creation of in-flight hazards when treating aircrew members. The aim of this article is to introduce the concepts of aviation (aerospace) medicine and dentistry.

Methods: Data were gathered to cover the following issues: head and facial barotraumas (barotrauma-related headache, external otitic barotrauma, barosinusitis and barotitis-media), dental barotrauma (barometric pressure-related tooth injury), barodontalgia (barometric pressure-related oro-dental pain), and dental care for aircrews.

Results and conclusions: Special considerations have to be made when planning restorative, endodontic, prosthodontic and surgical treatment to an aircrew patient. This article supplies the dental practitioner with some diagnostic tools as well as treatment guidelines. Principles of prevention, periodic examination, dental-related flight restriction (grounding) and dental documentation (for forensic purposes) are described as well.

MeSH terms

  • Aerospace Medicine / trends*
  • Aviation*
  • Barotrauma* / complications
  • Dental Restoration Failure
  • Denture Retention
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases*
  • Tooth Injuries / etiology*
  • Toothache / etiology*