Dental ergonomics are crucial, and things like proper working positions and posture can help reduce muscle tension and repetitive injuries. According to a recent NCBI study, about one-third of dentists usually retire because of musculoskeletal disorders. Therefore, ergonomics is a vital part of staying healthy.
What Is Ergonomics In Dental Practice
Dentists often find themselves maintaining awkward postures for extended periods while delivering oral care, leading to different dental ergonomic problems. Ergonomics in dental practice aims to prevent dentists from developing musculoskeletal problems by helping the dentist adopt a more comfortable and natural stance. Doing so helps dentists achieve a more patient-friendly treatment, enhancing the treatment’s efficiency and accuracy.
While dentists may be at a high risk of shoulder, back, and neck pain, they can employ a few practices to prevent chronic pain and injuries.
What Are The Proper Posture For Dental Professionals
Dental professionals should learn to maintain their bodies in a neutral position. The proper posture includes sitting up straight with your shoulders relaxed and the elbows at your sides. Mastering proper posture may help you avoid neck, shoulder and back problems.
You must avoid hunching over, twisting, or bending your spine when attending to the patients. Consider lifting the dental chair for the patient high enough to stand comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and back straight. While these may not always be possible, it's best to try to employ them.
It also helps to try and sit in an upright position for most of your clinical procedures rather than standing. When standing, ensure that your weight is evenly distributed. A proper posture will help you reduce repetitive motion injuries on your body.
Ergonomic Tips That Dentists Need To Follow
You can suffer different health issues when not following the proper working ergonomics as a dentist. You must employ proper posture and work in an environment with excellent lighting. Here are ergonomic tips a dentist should follow:
- Take care of your health: Naturally, dentists provide their patients with utmost care. It is not uncommon for a dentist to lean over or stretch their neck to get a better look, but working in an awkward position for extended periods can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Therefore, you must take care of your health to offer your patients the best care.
- Follow proper ergonomics: You can prevent muscle fatigue, shoulder pain, and repetitive motion injuries by following the proper ergonomics. You need to learn and maintain the balance of being patient-friendly, offering efficient treatment while maintaining good posture.
Consider using a dentist’s saddle chair or stool during clinical procedures, as they help you sit up straight and enhance diaphragmatic breathing. It will be best to avoid tilting forward when using this chair, as it can induce lower back pain.
- Stretches: It is essential to incorporate stretches into your daily routine. There are specific stretches for dental professionals that target your back, neck, shoulders, and wrists. Stretches are pretty straightforward, so ensure you try and do them throughout the day whenever you have the opportunity. If you have a busy schedule, you can always stretch when getting into work, during your lunch break, and at the end of the day.
- Choose proper instruments: It is essential to select the proper instruments to support good ergonomics. For instance, you can get instruments with textured grip surfaces for easy grip during root planning, probing, and scaling. Using well-sharpened tools can help prevent hand fatigue, while a pair of loupes with inbuilt headlights will prevent unnecessary bending or hunching.
- Get a regular massage: Massages help relax your body as it can become tense due to repetitive motions. Getting regular massages reduces the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and relieves the tension in your muscles. They can also help you stay healthy and practice dentistry for an extended period.
Buy High-Quality Dental Equipment, Supplies & Tools!
Dentists are more susceptible to developing musculoskeletal disorders as they spend long periods working in awkward postures. However, employing proper ergonomics can help minimise this and ensure they maintain good health and do not have to retire prematurely. Proper ergonomics also ensure that dentists offer patients the utmost level of care.
Using proper tools and equipment also ensures that dentists are employing proper ergonomics. Are you a dental professional looking for high-quality equipment, supplies and tools? Look no further.
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