Dentists and hygienists are no strangers to pain and discomfort. Most, if not all, dental professionals will experience some sort of musculoskeletal pain at some point in their long careers. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The key to having a pain free career is knowing the causes of pain.
These are the three major causes of pain in dentists and hygienists.
#1: Poor Posture
One of the most important things dentists and hygienists can do while treating patients is maintain a proper and healthy posture. Doing so will greatly reduce the amount of stress that is placed on their bodies, allow them to work more comfortably and reduce the amount of pain they feel in their back, shoulders, elbows and wrists.
When treating, try to avoid these poor posture habits:
- Sitting while hunched. Always maintain an erect posture and a straight back.
- Not keeping both feet placed flat on the floor.
- Sitting with your hips at a 90-degree angle. Your hips should open and at an angle between 110 and 135 degrees.
- Twisted arms that are held away from the body. Always keep your arms tucked in at your sides.
- Sitting with your legs together. Always keep your thighs apart at a 45-degree angle.
- Leaning too far forward or backward. There should not be a forward inclination of more than 20 degrees of your trunk.
- Similarly, with your head, do not maintain an overbearing forward head posture. The forward inclination of your head should not exceed 125 degrees.
#2: Improper Patient Positioning
Having trouble maintaining your posture? Even if you follow all the tips above, you may still run into problems if your patients aren’t positioned properly. Patient positioning is vital to being able to work efficiently and maintain the proper posture necessary to stave off musculoskeletal pain. When a patient’s mouth is easy to access, operators do not need to strain themselves during treatment, but not all dental chairs allow for patients to be positioned in such a way. When they are, it can cause them discomfort and make them less satisfied with their visit. In order to keep patients positioned properly and comfortable during treatment, dental offices can invest in dental chair accessories like headrests, backrests, knee supports and other memory foam products.
#3: Dull Tools
Dull tools lead to dentists and hygienists having to work harder to clean teeth and perform procedures. While this may not seem like a problem after one or two patients, multiplying this by 10 or more patients per day, five days a week results in a lot of unnecessary strain on even the hardiest person’s body. It’s these repetitive motions that cause most of the musculoskeletal issues that shorten the careers of dental professionals, and the best way to reduce repetition during procedures is to ensure all tools are kept sharp and in good working order.
Tools that are not sharpened force operators to grip them harder and push more while using them. They can also cause the operator’s wrist to fall out of the neutral position, which can strain on the muscles, ligaments and joints in the wrist, arm and shoulder.
Position your patients with ease and maintain a healthy posture with Crescent Products.
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