A systematic review of musculoskeletal disorders among dental professionals

Authors

  • MJ Hayes,

    1. Authors’ affiliations:
      Melanie J. Hayes, Deborah Cockrell, Discipline of Oral Health, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia
      Derek R. Smith, WorkCover New South Wales Research Centre of Excellence, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia
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  • D Cockrell,

    1. Authors’ affiliations:
      Melanie J. Hayes, Deborah Cockrell, Discipline of Oral Health, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia
      Derek R. Smith, WorkCover New South Wales Research Centre of Excellence, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia
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  • DR Smith

    1. Authors’ affiliations:
      Melanie J. Hayes, Deborah Cockrell, Discipline of Oral Health, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia
      Derek R. Smith, WorkCover New South Wales Research Centre of Excellence, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This review of current literature is aimed at examining the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in dental professionals and possible aetiological factors.

Deborah Cockrell
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health
University of Newcastle
PO Box 127
Ourimbah
2258 NSW
Australia
Tel.: (02) 4349 4514
Fax: (02) 4349 4567
E-mail: deborah.cockrell@newcastle.edu.au

Abstract

Abstract:  Musculoskeletal problems have become a significant issue for the profession of dentistry and dental hygiene. This review provides a detailed examination and discussion regarding the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in dental personnel and possible causative factors. All research studies or literature reviews, which have reported on the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms and/or potential risk factors for this problem in dentists, dental hygienists and dental students, were selected for inclusion. Our literature suggests that the prevalence of general musculoskeletal pain ranges between 64% and 93%. The most prevalent regions for pain in dentists have been shown to be the back (36.3–60.1%) and neck (19.8–85%), while the hand and wrist regions were the most prevalent regions for dental hygienists (60–69.5%). Interestingly, we found that studies on MSDs among dental and dental hygiene students are quite limited. Many risk factors have been identified, including static and awkward posture and work practices. Overall, the review suggests that musculoskeletal problems represent a significant burden for the dental profession. More research in the form of larger studies is urgently required, to help more clearly elucidate the development of this important issue for dental hygienists and dental hygiene students.

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