Aims: To investigate the prevalence and nature of some occupationally related health problems in dentists in southern Thailand.
Design: A cross-sectional study using a self-report questionnaire distributed to all 220 dentists working in 14 provinces in southern Thailand in 1997.
Participants: One hundred and seventy-eight dentists aged between 22 to 54 years responded.
Results: The most common occupational health problems were musculoskeletal pain (78 per cent) and percutaneous injury (50 per cent). Associated factors were analysed using multivariate analysis. About 22 per cent of these dentists had a history of contact dermatitis mostly caused by allergy to latex gloves, 15 per cent had eye problems, and 3 per cent had hearing problems.
Conclusions: Continuing education in the avoidance of percutaneous injuries would be beneficial, as exposure to potential infectious agents is of concern. Further studies are needed to identify causes of musculoskeletal pain and to identify appropriate interventions to reduce its prevalence, as would similar measures to reduce exposure to agents which may be producing contact dermatitis.