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According to the World Health Organization, work-related musculoskeletal disorders are disorders of the vascular system, tendons, muscles, or peripheral nerves that are not directly caused by an instantaneous or acute accident like falling off the floor. They are instead caused by some factors present in the workplace environment as well as by the way works are being performed. Here are some of the risk factors present in the workplace that contribute to the development of occupational musculoskeletal disorders in Schultz dentistry.
Using dental tools that generate vibration such as a power hand tool can contribute to the development of musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs. When using these types of tools you usually need to exert more force in order to properly manipulate them properly. Too much exposure to local vibration added with the exertion of excessive force can lead to problems on your wrists and hands.
Bad working postures
Perhaps the primary contributing factors to MSDs in dentistry is working with awkward or bad postures. In most cases, bad working posture is due to lack of illumination or wrong use of magnification optical aids like dental loupes.
When performing clinical treatment procedures without Schultz optical loupes, you usually need to bend forward and stay close to your patient's mouth in order for you to have a better view of the oral cavity. Holding such awkward position for extended period of time can put so much stress on the spinal disk and can as well cause the muscle to exert more effort.
Moreover, staying in a static body position requires more muscle exertion than when your body is in motion. Handling and working with dental tools while the back is in twisting or bending position, can further exacerbate your risks to MSDs.
Frequent repetitive motions
Doing repetitive motions or performing the same movements again and again for an extended period of time can cause muscle-tendon strain and fatigue. The excessive exertion of force as well as maintaining a bad working posture can further amplify these negative effects.
Excessive exertions of force
The more force you exert, the more your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments need to work. Exerting excessive force for long periods of time such as when you perform tasks like tooth extraction will not only cause you to feel exhausted at the end of the day but will as well contribute to the development of occupational MSDs. Using dental tools with dull edges, for instance, require more forceful exertion that those with edges that are sharp enough to do the same task.
The effects of excessive exertions of force increase when coupled with awkward or bad working posture, increase movement's rate of speed, and using dental tools with small-diameter or slippery handles, among others.
Apart from the 4 primary risk factors mentioned above, working continuously or performing meticulous dental treatment procedures interminably all day long without resting or stretching your muscles every once in a while can likewise increase your chance to developing occupational musculoskeletal disorders.