Today, discomfort and injuries in the musculoskeletal system are the leading causes for dentists leaving their profession prematurely.
Workplace ergonomics revolve around preventing injuries and pain resulting from improper sitting positions or prolonged sedentary work. Whether you're a dentist, dental hygienist, dental technician, clinic assistant, or something entirely different, poor ergonomics can lead to anything from minor muscle aches to more severe chronic pain.
The Bent Necks Mette Krebs from Krebs Ergonomics highlighted in an article in Tandlægebladet on February 21, 2018, that "The Bent Necks" pose a significant challenge when working in a dental clinic.
"A head weighs five to seven kilos, and it's designed to be located at a specific point on our torso. The further you move it away from that position, the more the load increases. If you move it just 60 degrees forward, the load increases to 30 kilos. That's the same as the weight of an eight to nine-year-old child, and you can try lifting a child of that size the next time you're down shopping in a grocery store. Then you can suddenly imagine what it's like to be a torso carrying many kilos incorrectly placed," says Mette Krebs to the clinic's staff.
Here you see two persons with a correct ergonomic sitting posture.
It is therefore crucial to be aware that your sitting position significantly impacts how many years you can be professionally active, especially if you work in a dental clinic where the work positions are more challenging than in other workplaces. As Mette Krebs also points out in the article:
"I know you try to be nice to your patients, but the point here is that the better you can position the patient for your treatment, the better it is for the patient too. A patient who 'lies well' lies well in relation to the work that needs to be done in the patient's mouth, but probably not as comfortably as at home on the sofa or on a sunbed on a vacation. We can 'lie nicely' on a sunbed in Mallorca with a drink – not in a dental clinic."
If you, as a dentist, dental hygienist, dental technician, or clinic assistant, have good tools and a positive working environment, patients will feel welcomed and have a pleasant experience.
A good working environment results in happy employees and satisfied patients."