• dental technicians;
  • occupational;
  • allergic contact dermatitis;
  • irritant contact dermatitis;
  • acrylates;
  • methacrylates;
  • methyl methacrylate (MMA);
  • 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (2-HEMA);
  • ethyleneglycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA);
  • prevention

In Germans, occupational skin disease (OSD) in dental technician (DT) has been steadily rising in recent years and causing considerable costs for medical care and rehabilitation. Our objective in this study was to: (i) examine affected workers: (ii) perform patch tests to identify causative agents; (iii) develop strategies of prevention. 7 dental laboratories were inspected as to materials used, working habits, safety regulations, etc. A computer data base was developed for products (trade name, active ingredient, additives, etc.). A questionnaire regarding development of OSD was sent out to 1132 dental technicians (45 questions). 55 DT with suspected OSD were examined and patch tested with the standard series, an extensive series of methacrylates, and own materials. Working conditions and knowledge of potential hazards. varied greatly in the laboratories visited. The safety data sheets of working materials were of with use and required supplementation by the computer data base. which provided rapid access to allergological information (e.g., and of aerylate. concentration). In the questionnaire (173 answers). 36% reported skin lesions attributed to work and 1/3 suspected plastic materials as their primary cause. Among the 55 DT examined, allergic contact dermatitis diagnosed in 63.6% and irritant contact dermatitis in 23.6%. Most of the allergens identified (74%) were found in plastic materials (methyl methaerylale (MM A). 9 patients (16%); 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (2-HEMA). 18 patients (33%); ethyleneglycol dimethacrylaie (EGDMA), 15 patients (27%)). In 16 patients, multiple sensitizations to various methacrylates were found. The fingertips were primarily involved in allergic contact dermatitis (93%). whereas in irritant contact dermatitis, the dorsa of the fingers (especially of the dominant hand) were affected (80%). 9 patients also showed lesions on the face, neck and forearms. The main irritant factors included wet work, contact with plaster, mechanical friction and thermal changes. Based on experience with DT, various preventive measures have been tried and found to be effect five (reduction of skin contact. 4H Gloves, etc.). In conclusion, better knowledge of OSD in dental laboratories (in physician. D T and their employers) would lead lo a reduced rate of new cases.