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Pinch forces and instrument tip forces during periodontal scaling.

Dong H; Loomer P; Villanueva A; Rempel D
J Periodontol 2007 Jan; 78(1):97-103
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders, such as tendinitis, is elevated among dental practitioners. An important risk factor for these disorders is forceful pinching; however, the pinch forces and instrument forces during scaling are unknown. METHODS: Six dentists and six senior-year dental students were recruited to use an instrumented periodontal scaler to perform their usual dental scaling work on patients. Thumb pinch force was measured by a pressure sensor, whereas the forces developed at the instrument tip were measured by a six-axis load cell. RESULTS: Dental students applied greater mean peak pinch force (35.7 +/- 3.8 N) compared to dentists (24.5 +/- 4.1 N) (P = 0.001). On the other hand, the peak forces generated at the instrument tip, which were directly related to the productivity of the dental scaling task, were higher among the dentists. The application of pinch force by dentists was related to the required scaling forces, whereas students applied excessive pinch force to the tools. CONCLUSIONS: Increased experience in periodontal scaling leads to the application of less pinch force to accomplish scaling. Nonetheless, the applied peak pinch forces in both groups are high and may pose a risk for the development of musculoskeletal disorders of the distal upper extremity.
Biological-effects; Biological-function; Biomechanical-engineering; Biomechanics; Cell-biology; Cellular-reactions; Dentistry; Dentists; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Hand-injuries; Hand-tools; Injury-prevention; Mechanics; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Physiological-effects; Physiological-measurements; Physiological-response; Quantitative-analysis; Repetitive-work; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Statistical-analysis; Training; Work-environment; Work-operations; Work-performance; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Author Keywords: Dental scaling; ergonomics; tendinitis
Dr. David Rempel, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1301 South 46th Street, Building 163, Richmond, CA 94804
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Journal Article
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Journal of Periodontology
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University of California, Berkeley
Page last reviewed: July 22, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division