The Importance of Dental Ergonomics

Dr. Andrew from {PRACTICE_NAME}

Author: Dr. Sarah Mischo, DMD

I recently read an article in the American Dental Association (ADA) Newspaper that made me stop and think about ergonomics. Ergonomics is the study of people’s interaction with their workplace environments, and being almost 32 weeks pregnant has definitely made me more aware of the uncomfortable positions, repetitive hand movements, and high pitched noises that are a part of dental work every day.

In 2021 the ADA completed the Dentist Health and Well-Being Survey Report and found that 84% of dentists report having some sort of pain or discomfort while working, and more than a third reported hearing issues. Many dentists and hygienists suffer from musculoskeletal related injuries (specifically neck and back pain) which is the #1 cause of early retirement for dental professionals.

One of the tools many dental professionals use to help them avoid injury in the workplace is dental loupes. These are the special glasses your dentist or hygienist wears. Loupes carry magnification lenses that come in a wide variety of strengths (1.5x magnification to 8x magnification or greater). They help dental professionals see your teeth close up without having to compromise their posture. Loupes are specially made to fit each operator, and the focal length of the lenses on each pair is set to fit the working distance for one specific individual.

In addition to tools like loupes, dental professionals spend a great deal of time considering proper patient and provider positioning, lighting, and access to instrumentation and materials, all to ensure that the office is as comfortable as possible for both you and your dentist! I hope this brief blog post helps you stop and consider the way your body interacts with your workplace, and answers a few questions about your next dental visit, too!