Due to the high rate of injury and discomfort, it is important for dental professionals to be familiar with ergonomics in dentistry. Dentists, hygienists and assistants must sit in awkward positions for long periods of time. They must also hold small instruments and perform precise arm and hand movements. There are many things dental professionals can do to reduce their chance of injury.
Ergonomics in Dentistry: Things to Consider
Ergonomics in dentistry begins with having proper posture. This means maintaining the body in a neutral position as much as possible. Dental professionals should try to sit upright instead of leaning over the patient. It’s important to try and work as close to the patient as possible. This will help reduce having to reach out the arms so much.
Other good habits are to keep the feet on the floor and back against the chair. When adjusting the chair, it is best to have it at a height that allows the thighs to slope downward a little bit. Dental loupe eyewear will provide magnification to reduce the clinicians need to lean forward or down to see the patient’s mouth. It helps to sit while working on a patient, as opposed to standing during the procedure.
When holding instruments, making sure not to grip too tightly will go a long way in helping euronics in dentistry. Sharp instruments will go a long way, as they reduce the amount of force the clinician will have to use. There are sharpening stones or machines that can be used for in-house sharpening services. Also, there are mobile-clinics that can come to an office to sharpen on site. If an instrument gets too thin to be sharpened properly, it’s time to replace that instrument.
Using instruments with thicker handles or grips help reduce hand and arm strain. Dental sales companies usually sell both thick and thin-handled versions of mirrors, ultrasonic inserts and instruments. Try and get lightweight instruments as opposed to heavy ones. When using an instrument, hold wrists in a neutral position, and try to only make small movements.
Having a patient sit in the proper position will help with ergonomics in dentistry. Although this is not always possible, it helps if a patient is able to lay back in the chair. Have the patient scoot up to the top of the headrest so that they are easier to reach. Do not be afraid to have a patient turn one way or another so that you have a better view and access.
Many dental professionals suffer from neck, back or arm pain. Oftentimes, they end up getting carpal-tunnel. By following these simple steps for ergonomics in dentistry, these pains can be reduced or avoided.