Ergonomics the key to pain-free dentistry

Ergonomics the key to pain-free dentistry
January 20, 2022 Scott White

Many dentists develop pain and injuries affecting the spine, muscles, ligaments and nerves in the neck, back and limbs. These musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are often the direct result of the poor work posture.

Given the long hours spent working in a seated position, the decision to purchase an ergonomically superior patient chair such as the A-dec 500 and matching A-dec 500 dentist’s and assistant’s stools is a wise investment for the life of your practice.

When seated, the hips should be above the knees to tilt the pelvis forward which helps create an ‘S’-shaped spine. Sitting with your legs parallel to the floor causes the hips to rotate back which is likely to create an unhealthy ‘C’-shaped spinal curve, putting pressure on the spine.

When adjusted correctly, the new A-dec 500 dentist’s stool puts the operator’s hips in the correct position. Optional armrests provide addition support to the lower arms while working in the oral cavity and a completely redesigned seat section has performance zones to properly support the operator in comfort without restricting blood flow to the thighs like conventional stools.

In the case of the assistant, who is seated higher and therefore has to lean forward, a torso support arm is required, together with a foot support ring, like that fitted to the A-dec assistant’s stool, to alleviate back strain.

Often, poor patient chair design prevents dentists working in an ideal position, causing the operator to hunch over the patient, especially if the chair has a thick backrest or if it cannot be positioned low or high enough. Other problems exist with chairs that aren’t ambidextrous.

The A-dec 300, 400 and 500 patient chairs have a large range of vertical motion and ultra-thin flexible backrests. This enables dentists to position the oral cavity closer to the body, creating angles of access for optimum working positions.

Because of their pressure-mapped contoured backrest, these premium model A-dec chairs also offer superior patient comfort including shoulder and elbow support – especially important during longer procedures. The A-dec 500 armrests also pivot forward so you can work without obstruction.

A-dec’s award-winning A-dec 500 LED with its bright ‘daylight’ balanced light temperature and unique ‘cure safe’ mode for working with composites, contributes to an ergonomic working environment. And because it’s an LED there’s no heat from the lamps like conventional lights.

The broad spread of light and innovative ‘stadium effect’ overlapping multi LED light output minimizes shadowing and the softly feathered light pattern reduces eye fatigue.

The A-dec LED surgery light has a three-axis pivot arm with additional 540 degrees horizontal rotation, making positioning of the dental light fluid and comfortable using only one hand.

When integrated with A-dec 300 or A-dec 500 chair, the hands-free operation turns the light on automatically when the chair-back reclines and off again when the chair is brought to the entry/exit position, eliminating unnecessary reaching.

Article created by A-dec Australia, Chairside magazine January 2019.