Controlling dental hygiene work-related musculoskeletal disorders: the ergonomic process

J Dent Hyg. 2000 Winter;74(1):41-8.


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) have been reported frequently by dental hygienists. The practice of dental hygiene exposes practitioners to WMSD risk factors of repetitive motion, pinch-grasp, force, vibration, and prolonged awkward positions. The objective of an ergonomic program is to fit the job to the worker, rather than the worker to the work. Principles of the ergonomic process can be applied in private dental practice to design a program that meets the needs of each practitioner. The ergonomic process includes data collection, assessment, the ergonomic plan itself, and evaluation of strategies. The worker (dental hygienist), work processes, and the work environment are integral parts in the ergonomic process. The purpose of this article is to provide basic information on the ergonomic process so that individuals can develop a program that meets their need to reduce WMSDs.

MeSH terms

  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / prevention & control
  • Dental Hygienists*
  • Ergonomics*
  • Hand / physiopathology
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Vibration / adverse effects
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Workplace