Background: Dental personnel are prone to frequent bouts of hand dermatitis. This has been attributed to hand washing, occupational exposure to a multitude of possible sensitizers, and frequent latex glove use. There has been some conflict in the literature as to the true frequency of allergic contact dermatitis in dental personnel. Objective: The purpose of this investigation was to quantify the frequency of allergic contact dermatitis and contact urticaria in a large group of Air Force dental personnel. Methods: Four hundred forty-nine dental personnel were surveyed for hand dermatitis. Positive responders were interviewed and examined. Patients with histories most consistent with allergic contact dermatitis were patch tested to a standard and a dental tray. Results: Of the 449 personnel completing our survey, 169 had a positive history of hand dermatitis. One hundred twenty of these were interviewed and examined, of which 27 patients gave a history most consistent with allergic contact dermatitis and were subjected to patch testing. Only 3 patients had relevant positive reactions to the allergens on the standard or dental trays. All others (93) were diagnosed with irritant contact dermatitis. None had contact urticaria to latex. Conclusion: The frequency of hand dermatitis in our dental personnel is consistent with that in other published studies (37.6%). The majority of hand dermatitis occurring in this group is due to irritant contact dermatitis; the frequency of allergic contact dermatitis is very low (0.67%). None had contact urticaria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health