An evidence-based review of ergonomic features of dental hygiene instruments
In the Theoretical Thursdays Blog it our objective to bring dental hygienists current peer-reviewed articles that you may find of interest. While we cannot post the article we will provide the citation, describe it to you and tell you where on the internet you can find it if it is an open access article, email it to you for personal use if allowed by the publisher, or if a librarian is not available we will help you locate the article. Please contact us with the journal title for assistance.
Simmer-Beck, M., & Branson, B. (2010). An evidence-based review of ergonomic features of dental hygiene instruments. Work, 35(4), 477-485.
This journal allows the article to be shared by email for personal use.
This study used Medline and Cinahl to locate studies that explored the prevalence of musculoskeletal problems in dental hygienists during a 10 year period ending in 2008. Risk factors and structural design of the common tools for dental hygienists were reviewed for potential ergonomic re-design. Twenty-one instrument and grip combinations as well as 22 mirror and grip combinations were described. While optimal length of instrument was not defined in the literature, optimal diameter of instruments and mirrors was noted to be at least 10mm weighing 15g or less. Padding was also noted to decrease muscle activity.
The study is well written and presented with numerous tables that facilitate understanding the content. Specific brand names of instruments are noted in the tables. The unfortunate part of this article is that the peer review process through to publication is extended. The article was submitted in May of 2008 and was not published until 2010 delaying the time this valuable information was available to dental hygienists. A good read to assist with prevention of repetitive strain injuries.