We’re sure you’ve noticed the signs… Pain in your back, neck, shoulders, hands and fingers that make it difficult to focus on your work.
You probably know that work-related musculoskeletal disorders are more common in dentists than in nearly ANY OTHER part of the population— with up to 93% reporting symptoms.
This pain might seem like a simple, unpreventable annoyance, but you shouldn’t write it off because it “comes with the territory.” Realistically, this annoying pain can lead to long-term damage and risk of further injury.
To actually address the problem, you first need to understand the root. There are a lot of factors in a dental office that contribute to these chronic pains:
– working in awkward positions
– small, repetitive movements
– being forced to remain in one position all day
– sitting or standing with bad posture
– high-stress environment
– not having enough breaks or down time
– inappropriate choice of seating
– neglect to use proper magnification tools
– poor muscle strength in the spinal region
Luckily, science has made it possible to pinpoint the problem areas and prevent work-related injuries and pains. You must be able to adjust your work environment to what your body needs and AVOID unnatural positions and postures.
For instance, choosing the proper dental stool can have an enormous effect on your comfort level throughout the workday.
A dental stool needs to offer back, neck and shoulder support to aid your posture; it also must sit at the correct height and angle, with additional arm and elbow support. It is important to remember that one size DOES NOT fit all. Just as there are many different body shapes, there are many different stool options, and each should be suited to the individual.
Proper magnification aid is also important in reducing work-related injuries. Using magnification lenses gives you or your hygienist a significant ergonomic advantage— unlike regular safety lenses. Magnification lenses can prevent you from tilting your head at an uncomfortable angle or excessively leaning over the patient, both of which contribute to neck and back pain. Procedure scopes and microscopes may also be used to maintain better posture while examining the patient’s mouth, but telescopes are the most frequent and preferred form of magnification— offering two to five times the magnification.
In a job so physically demanding, you need to be able to see the big picture— think LONG-TERM to prevent yourself from physically burning out or wearing down. Your mind is still sharp… Keep your body strong by being INTENTIONAL about your equipment!
-the Scheduling Institute Hygiene Team