ERGONOMICS AND PREVENTION OF MUSCULOSKELETAL – WORK RELATED PATHOLOGY IN DENTISTRY: A PILOT STUDY

Codrina Ancuța, Cristina Iordache, Ana Maria Fătu, Ciprian Aluculesei, Norina Forna

ABSTRACT
Dentistry is acknowledged as an outstandingly practical domain of medicine, with an excessive and extensive role of the hand acting in a professional dental environment, with specific working postures, repetitive movements and using different dental instruments. The main objective of our study was to evaluate occupational-hand pathology in dentists and potential trigger factors and to highlight the role of physical therapy in preventing and management of different musculoskeletal issues in dentistry settings. We performed a prospective 12-months study on 30 dentists (20 women), aged between 30 and 60 years, working in private practice aiming to assess professional hand involvement. Enrolled dentists were classified in two equal groups, according to their participation in a kinetic program: group A, dentists performing an individual kinetic program on a daily basis, and group B, dentists without being involved in a physical therapy program. All subjects were followed-up for 12 months. A specific questionnaire derived from the Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire was applied in all cases, evaluating different musculoskeletal items such as pain, paresthesias, muscle spasm and amyotrophy, but also joint mobility (wrist, metacarpophalangeal joints).Work-related hand pathology is widely confirmed among dentists, specifically connected to different professional factors such as working postures and movements, number of working hours, cumulative time and experience, as well as type of devices and tools handled. Moreover, dentistry performed according to ergonomic settings is essential in order to reduce the burden of musculoskeletal features and to improve related disability and working performance. Work-related hand pathology accounts for significant morbidity and physical discomfort among dental professionals. With a multifaceted pathobiology ranging from inflammatory to degenerative damage of both soft tissue, nerve and joints (wrist and fingers), musculoskeletal issues are typically linked to professional triggers during routine practice in dentistry.
Key words: dentist hand disease, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, ergonomics, kinetotherapy

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