“Every day, a dental professional becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated.”
Many dentists lose thousands of dollars a year due to musculoskeletal pain. The prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders is a matter of ergonomics, which is the science of adapting the workplace to the worker.
Dentists are at high risk of musculoskeletal disorders due to the nature of their work. The labor risks associated with oral health is higher than most other professions. The risks also include the possibility of communicable diseases and other physical and emotional disorders.
Dentists are also at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition occurs when repetitive movements are being performed for long periods of time. These repetitive positions cause inflammation, which puts pressure on the median nerve, passing through a narrow channel located at the height of the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This condition causes a painful tingling, numbness and loss of grip strength.
Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men, partly due to hormonal changes that can cause fluid retention, which is an aggravating factor. Women tend to receive pains in the upper body, while men suffer in the lower back.
What is the best solution?
Four-handed dentistry is the solution. (see video below). Four-handed dentistry refers to the technique by which a dental assistant or dental hygienist works in sync with the dentist all the time.
This method was established to reduce fatigue for both patients and dental professionals. It is also used to shorten the time of any dental procedure and improve the quality of work. That is why “dental assistants are very important to your practice.”
Four-handed dentistry. Dental assistants help eliminate unnecessary movement; decreasing torso twists and movements; and reducing unbalanced postures. During oral treatments and surgeries, instruments should be readily available to the dentist and dental assistant back, and four-handed dentistry carries out these processes more efficiently.
Four-handed dentistry not only increases productivity and efficiency, it also reduces stress and physical stress to avoid adopting awkward postures and distancing the operative field.
Four-handed dentistry is based on a set of principles that define the conditions under which efficiency can be achieved. The principles of this strategy are:
- Patient treatment planning in advance and in a logical sequence.
- The instruments and equipment used feature ergonomic technology.
- Planning of procedure and available instruments used during the treatment in the tray, or have them pre-bagged.
- All tools, equipment and materials for the treatment of the patient should be in the operating room before the team begins to work. They should be easily accessible to the assistant.
- The dentist, assistant and the patient should be comfortably seated in a balanced position.
- Instruments and materials must be delivered and picked up by the assistant without the dentist having to change their focal length, which distracts the operator.
- Tools and materials should be achieved only through the transfer zone.
- The operator assigns all legal duties delegated to qualified professionals based on strict guidelines.
Here we leave a very interesting video showing the exchange of instruments in four-handed dentistry:
We thanks to http://www.dynamicdentistry.co.uk for the video and images