Dental Hygiene Work

Task
The job entails setting up a work station, which includes assembly of hand tools and arrangement of lighting. The dentist also examines a patient, completes scaling and root planning, polishing, and flossing.

Problem
Due to limited access to the oral cavity and the nature of the tasks, dental hygiene work requires prolonged static trunk and neck flexion, and awkward shoulder and wrist positions.

Intervention
Use chairs that are able to increase or decrease in height and move back to fit the comfort of the operator. They are also designed to provide body support in the front and the back. Surrounding work surfaces are low and positioned to make the reach for tools smooth and on a horizontal plane at elbow height for a seated person.

Cost
Estimated US $700

Evaluation of Intervention

  • Pros
  • Chairs improve access to the patient's oral cavity with less awkward positions
  • Supports trunk and forearms in forward position, and supports back in the backward positions
  • Less cervical spine flexion
  • Cons
  • The back of the chair may interfere with the headrest of the patient's chair, or block the vision of the operator

Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Intervention

  • Reduction of Identified Risk Factor
  • No New Risk Factors Introduced
  • Productivity not Reduced
  • Low Cost
  • Total
  • 3/5
  • 4/5
  • 4/5
  • 3/5
  • 14/20

Other Possible Interventions

  • Ergonomic hand instruments

Acknowledgements

Submitted by Charlotte Andreasen (UCSF) and Hui Dong (UCB)