Ergonomics in Dentistry and the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Ergonomics in Dentistry and the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Dentists.

Dental work requires considerable concentration and attention to detail. Dental professionals are concerned about patients’ comfort, but probably pay little attention to their own until they begin to experience discomfort or pain.16Today, more dentists are becoming aware of occupational hazards and paying more attention to the prevention of hazards.1 Ergonomics have come into the profession in a big way. Further development of dental ergonomics must take place on the basis of a coherent vision of the future. In this regard it must be clear exactly what ergonomics is and what developments have already taken place. Aspects of particular interest are the prevention of occupational diseases, legal responsibility for protecting the health and safety of employees and students,17 education in dental ergonomics for dental and oral hygiene students, the academic development and research of dental ergonomics, using organizational models in daily dental practice, and the development of ergonomics at the global level.18

Repetitive strain injuries are on the rise in dentistry. Many dentists/dental hygienists have been diagnosed with MSDs, and majority have experienced some type of musculoskeletal pain in their shoulders and neck, hands and wrists, low back, or forearms and elbows. More studies need to be conducted on the impact of dental work on the development of nerve and muscle pathologies, which would prevent dentists from providing the highest quality of service and could threaten their professional careers. Meanwhile, the importance of following proper ergonomic principles should be realized so that these problems can be avoided by increasing awareness of the postures used during work, redesigning the workstation to promote neutral positions, examining the impact of instrument use on upper extremity pain, and following healthy work practices to reduce the stress of dental work on the practitioner’s body.

Orbital Dental Chair

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