ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

Respiratory Systems of Dental Technicians Negatively Affected during 5 Years of Follow-Up
Nurgül Bozkurt 1, Belkıs Yurdasal 2, Ali İhsan Bozkurt 3, Özlem Yılmaz 4, Mahmut Tekin 1
1Department of Pulmonology, Pamukkale University School of Medicine, Denizli, Turkey
2Department of Oral Health, Denizli Health Directorate, Denizli, Turkey
3Department of Public Health, Pamukkale University School of Medicine, Denizli, Turkey
4Oral Health Division, Denizli Health Directorate, Denizli, Turkey
DOI : 10.5152/balkanmedj.2016.15312
Pages : 426-433

Abstrack

Background: Dental laboratory technician is one of the professions in which dust exposure is frequently experienced and therefore the health of workers has to be monitored.

Aims: In this study, changes in the pulmonary functions and of pneumoconiosis frequencies among dental technicians after five years were investigated by comparing the results of two screenings carried out in 2008 and 2013.

Study Design: Cohort study.

Methods: In 2008 and 2013, Provincial Health Directorate carried out two different health screenings covering all of the dental technicians working in dental laboratories in Denizli. In both screenings, a questionnaire was applied, with which socio-demographic and workplace properties of the technicians were obtained. In addition, Pulmonary function tests (PFT) and standard chest X-rays of the technicians were performed. The results of these two screenings were evaluated by a chest specialist, and physical examinations were performed as necessary. In 2013, technicians who had pathologies underwent computerized tomography (HRCT). In this study, the study group was composed of dental laboratory technicians that participated in both screenings (2008 and 2013) and the data obtained from the screenings were compared. The gathered data were analyzed using paired student-t and X2 tests.

Results: A total of 125 dental laboratory technicians participated in the two screenings. Overall, 92% of the technicians were male and the mean age of the participants was 35. Technicians were working for 9 hours a day, 6 days a week. Total exposure time was calculated to be around 41 thousand hours. Approximately 60% of workers were smokers. When the results of PFT were analyzed, 73% of the first evaluations were found to be normal; however, this ratio decreased to 51% in the second analysis five years later. In the second PFT measurement, compared to the first, there was a 23% decrease in the forced vital capacity (FVC) value, and a 15.7% decrease in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). While restrictive disorder was found 25% in the first PFT evaluations, this ratio increased to 31% in the second PFT. When the radiological results were considered, 62% of the first X-ray results were found to be normal but this ratio decreased to 18% in 2013. While reticular/reticulonodular opacities were found in 11% of cases in 2008, it increased to 30% in 2013. Seven technicians were diagnosed with pneumoconiosis (5.6%).

Conclusion: Respiratory tracts of the technicians were negatively affected during the five year period. The number of pneumoconiosis cases (5.6%) shows that it is necessary to adopt comprehensive work health and safety precautions for laboratories.

Keywords : Dental technicians, pneumoconiosis, respiratory
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