The International Association of Aerospace Dentistry (IAAD) was established through the vision of Dr. Leon Dychter in 1980. Dr. Dychter saw the need for Dentistry’s presence in Aerospace Medicine since there were so many dental anomalies occurring during barometric changes in atmospheric pressure, and seeing that they were not being addressed adequately in either the dental or medical fields.
Dr. Dychter published his first article in “Helice” the journal of the Union Pilots of Mexico, that instigated discussion amongst the Unions Board of Directors. From this discussion, a friendship between the Unions President Mr. Armando Victoria Galvan and Dr. Leon Dychter began, and talks continued. While attending the Mexican Association of Aerospace Meeting in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico, Dr. Dychter met with Dr. Ramon Dominguez-Mompell of Madrid, Spain, and expressed his concerns about Aerospace Dentistry, and how the subject is being ignored amongst the professionals, while the number of in-flight cases that are occurring are still concerning.
“Aerodontalgia” was the term given to the pain associated with the aircrew that were suffering due to changes in barometric pressure during the World War II era. This pain, which is reported as severe in 75% of cases, and moderate in the other 25% of cases, affected crewmembers performance during their flights which caused early cessation of flights. The percentages for military flyers during that period was 10% and was ranked fifth in physiologic complaints of trainees, and ranked third as the causative factor in the early cessation of flights. It is assumed today, that with the pressurization of modern aircraft, and the advances in mainstream dentistry that barometric changes no longer affect the teeth and oral cavity. This can be no further from the truth. In-fact, the percentages reported, are the same: 10% in-flight for military, and 11% for civilian flights. The problem is, that these numbers are likely skewed, since the subject is not addressed in dental schools, and most dentists are not familiar with the terms barodontalgia, odontocrexis, otitis media, and barosinusitis. We must consider also, that the number of flights have increased exponentially, and with the advent of SCUBA in the 1960’s, the barometric changes that occur during diving, are much higher than those that occur during flight.
As Dr. Dychter continued his quest to put Aerospace and Aeronautic Dentistry back into the stream of topics of Dentistry and Medicine, he was given the nick-name of Odontologi. As talks continued, and the Aerospace community listened, Dr Dychter was able to give a speeches on the topic of Aerospace Dentistry to the Aerospace Medicine Community. During the 2006 at the Aerospace Medical Association Meeting (AsMA) in Orlando, Florida, the idea was presented to form an association with AsMA. In 2008, during the AsMA meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, the goal of forming an association with AsMA was reached, and the “International Association of Aerospace Dentistry” was formed. The meeting was attended by the following founding members: Dr. Leon Dychter, Dr. Ramon Dominguez-Mompell, Dr. Estrella Forster, Dr. Felix Porras, General Carlos Staff, Dr. Miguel Cima, Dr. Graciella Mendez, Carolina Mico, and Maria Livekis.
Since the the initial organization of the founding members, the IAAD continues to stay abreast with the latest information available on the topic of aerospace dentistry. The IAAD holds its meeting every year in conjunction with the AsMA annual meeting. The IAAD also strives to deliver annually a Dental Panel or presentations for the General Assembly each year. The IAAD is committed to the study of, and the education to the dental issues associated with barometric changes in atmospheric pressure.