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Prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders in oral health care Professionals

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

JADA, June, 2019. JADA

Summarized by: Syeda Mahbub

Dentists and dental students perform repeated awkward postures and movements during their work that can result in injurious mechanical stress on the body. Musculoskeletal disorders in oral health care professionals therefore lead to reduced practice hours and early retirement. Unfortunately, there has been limited understanding of this aspect of dentistry, and the June 2019 Journal of the American Dental Association systemic review sheds light on the current progress and the imminent need for further research. The article investigates the effectiveness of preventive and rehabilitative care for musculoskeletal disorders that have been concluded in 34 articles, but found most of the studies to have a small data pool, lack of funding, and/or presence of bias, among other limitations. Equipment modification, ergonomic training and physical exercise were the major focus of the studies, where indirect-vision and magnification of the loupes allowing proper distance from the patient’s mouth were key features that were proven to allow correct ergonomic posture. However, the overall lack of evidence points to a chronic health concern being neglected, causing lower productivity, less-than-optimal patient care, and a disservice to oral health care professionals. Ergonomic training should therefore be reinforced as early as dental school, and the health of the dental workforce should be recognized as a serious hazard in the dental community.

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