Many dental professionals simply consider pain and discomfort a part of their careers, but it doesn’t have to be this way. While treating more than a dozen patients a day results in pain, stress, and various musculoskeletal issues, there are ways to reduce the pain and discomfort dental providers experience on a day-to-day basis.
Unfortunately, many dental schools do not focus on the evidence-based ergonomics of proper positioning during treatment, nor is there a strong focus on wellness strategies to reduce pain. But there are ways to achieve relatively little to no pain even after years of dental practice.
Follow these evidence-based methodologies to reduce pain during and after treatment.
Focus on Ergonomics
Ergonomics not only applies to your posture, but also extends to the products you use and how you position your patients. Even the smallest changes in positioning can lead to long-term effects—pain, stress, and so much more.
Fixing these ergonomic issues in your treatment rooms is the most important thing you can do to reduce work-related pain in dentistry. Bethany Valachi, dental ergonomics expert and co-designer of the Crescent Products Low-Profile Headrest, writes, “One of the most common ergonomic mistakes I observe is TTL loupes with a poor declination angle that forces the operator into an unsafe forward head posture and causes neck pain.”
Take a step back and think about how everything you use in your treatment room affects the ergonomic positioning of your body while you treat. Assess what makes you feel better, what makes you feel more comfortable, and what positions are feasible to maintain during treatment.
Invest in the Right Products
From dental chairs to dental stools to treatment devices and more, investing in the right equipment can help you maintain a pain-free practice throughout your career. But you don’t have to spend 10,000 dollars on new dental chairs to achieve this. Dental chair accessories can help position your patients comfortably so that you can maintain a healthier, more ergonomic position while treating. These accessories work in tandem to blend comfort for patients with precise ergonomics that give dental professionals the access and angles they need to avoid fatigue and perform at their best.
There are many single accessories you can purchase, from headrests to backrest and knee supports, or you can invest in the entire product suite with a full Bodyrest System.
Stretch and Strengthen
One of the simplest and most cost-effective things dental providers can do is stretch and strengthen the muscles they use every day. There are exercises that are specifically tailored to dental providers to help alleviate pain and prevent it from occurring in the future. If you haven’t already, make stretching a part of your daily routine before, after, or in between the patients you see.