NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Effect of tool design on hand pain in dental practitioners.
Rempel-D; Lee-DL; Dawson-K; Loomer-P
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R01-OH-008892, 2012 Sep; :1-22
Background: Periodontal curette handle design may influence arm pain in dental practitioners. This 4-month randomized controlled study evaluated the effects of curette handle diameter and weight on arm pain among dental practitioners. Methods: Dental hygienists and dentists (N=110) who performed scaling, root planing or dental prophylaxis participated. Right wrist, elbow and shoulder pain levels were assessed weekly. Participants were randomized to receive either a set of light (14 g), large diameter (11 mm) or heavy (34 g), narrow diameter (8 mm) periodontal curettes. Changes in mean pain scores across the study period were compared between treatment groups using general linear models controlling for covariates. Results: The improvement in pain scores was greater for subjects who used the lighter, larger diameter curettes across the 3 body regions evaluated. In the final adjusted model the differences were only significant for the shoulder region (p=0.02). Conclusions: Dental instrument design influences upper extremity pain in dental practitioners. Using a lighter, larger diameter instrument may be an easy and cost-effective intervention to reduce or prevent upper extremity pain associated with dental hygiene work. Clinical implications: Practitioners should consider using lightweight instruments with large diameters when performing scaling and root planing in order to prevent arm pain.
Dentistry; Dentists; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Extremities; Arm-injuries; Humans; Men; Women; Models; Tools; Ergonomics; Equipment-design; Repetitive-work; Cumulative-trauma; Cumulative-trauma-disorders
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
University of California, San Francisco
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division