Introduction: Pneumoconiosis in dental technicians' has rarely been evaluated.
Objectives: To evaluate clinical, functional and radiological impacts of exposure to dust on respiratory functions via chest X-ray (CXR), high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) and spirometry in dental technicians.
Methods: Demographic data, respiratory symptoms, spirometry results, CXR and HRCT scans of 32 dental technicians were evaluated. The opacities on the radiological images were categorized based on their intensity. We investigated the relation of radiological scores with clinical, radiological and functional findings.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 31 ± 9 years and mean employment duration was 14 ± 9 years. Twenty-two (69%) technicians had a history of smoking. The most common symptom was phlegm, while dyspnea prevalence was higher in those with an elevated International Labour Office (ILO) profusion score (P < 0.01). Parenchymal opacities were determined in 10 (31%) technicians by CXR and in 22 (69%) technicians by HRCT (P < 0.01). There was a positive correlation between ILO profusion score and HRCT score (r = 0.765, P < 0.01). ILO profusion score and HRCT score showed positive correlation with employment duration (r = 0.599, P = 0.01; r = 0.514, P = 0.01, respectively), while exhibiting negative correlation with FVC (r = -0.509, P < 0.05; r = -0.627, P = 0.01 respectively), FVC% (r = -0.449, P < 0.05; r = -0.457, P < 0.05, respectively) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (r = -0.473, P < 0.05; r = -0.598, P = 0.01, respectively).
Conclusions: We believe that a combined approach including spirometry, CXR and HRCT modalities should be employed in demonstrating respiratory disorders associated with exposure to inorganic dusts in dental technicians.
Keywords: dental technicians; occupational lung diseases; pneumoconiosis.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.