The dental practice is demanding and time consuming. A dentist’s musculoskeletal health can be affected adversely if appropriate working position is neglected. Area that is often overlooked is the physical strain caused due to long hours of working in uncomfortable and incorrect posture which can contribute greatly to musculoskeletal disorders, stress, and loss of productivity.
In Greek, “Ergo,” means work and, “Nomos,” means natural laws or systems. Ergonomics, therefore, is an applied science concerned with designing products and procedures for maximum efficiency and safety. The principles of ergonomics touch all aspects of our life and can be applied in work place, at home and even in recreational and leisure activities.
Dentists develop musculoskeletal problems which are related to suboptimal work environment ergonomics that might be responsible for improper sitting postures and movements. Prolonged static loads can present a fatigue injury mechanism either due to low but prolonged muscle contraction and/or prolonged flexed postures of the spine leading to accumulated damage to the posterior component of the annulus. It is the ideal positioning of the body while performing work with decreased risk of musculoskeletal injury. It is generally believed that the more a joint deviate from the neutral position, the greater the risk of injury.
Four-handed dentistry is ergonomically the most favorable way to provide dental services since it minimizes undesirable movements of the operating team. Available research supports the idea that ergonomic hazards can be managed or alleviated effectively using a multifaceted approach that includes preventive education, postural and positioning strategies, proper selection and use of ergonomic equipment and frequent breaks with stretching and postural strengthening techniques. The strategy that should be followed by a dental professional to avoid work related pain or injury is to have an ergonomic set up along with gentle stretching and strengthening exercises.
Keywords: Ergonomics, Posture, Musculo- skeletal disorder, Muscle strengthening.