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Free Content Infrared Thermographic Analysis of Craniofacial Muscles in Military Pilots Affected by Bruxism

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INTRODUCTION: Due to the physical stresses to which they are subjected, military pilots may experience bruxism, an “oral parafunction.” Parafunction can cause masticatory muscle suffering and serious dental, periodontal, and temporomandibular joint damage. The aim of this pilot study was to analyze the temperature distribution in masticatory and upper trapezius muscles in a sample of bruxist air force pilots, to evaluate whether an occlusal splint would be able to induce skin temperature variations in the stomatognathic apparatus using the technology of infrared thermography.

METHODS: A total of 11 male Italian Air Force pilots of high performance aircraft, ages from 27 to 40 yr (mean 34.91 ± 2.15 yr) with 1000–3000 flight hours, were enrolled in the study and analyzed using an infrared camera in order to evaluate the temperature of the masticatory muscles. All the recordings were taken on each subject using the same protocol with and without a temporary occlusal splint.

RESULTS: The occlusal splint statistically increased each muscle temperature (0.10–0.20°C) on both the sides of the body. No statistically significant differences were found between the left and right muscles (asymmetries) before or after the wearing of the splint except for the anterior temporalis muscle. No significant improvement or variations in temperature symmetry of this muscle was found after the application of the splint.

DISCUSSION: The use of an occlusal splint could help in increasing muscles temperatures in Air Force pilots with consequent relaxation of their facial muscular system.

Baldini A, Nota A, Cioffi C, Ballanti F, Cozza P. Infrared thermographic analysis of craniofacial muscles in military pilots affected by bruxism. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2015; 86(4):374–378.

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Keywords: dental occlusion; military personnel; muscular tension; occlusal splint; temporomandibular disorders

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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