Postural changes in dental hygienists. Four-year longitudinal study

J Dent Hyg. 1992 Mar-Apr;66(3):147-50.


Numerous surveys identify the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints as a concern in dentistry. However, no longitudinal data exist to indicate whether postural changes occur as a result of practicing dental hygiene. The purpose of this preliminary, four-year longitudinal study was to investigate whether any postural changes developed during the hygienists' clinical education and/or during subsequent dental hygiene practice after one and/or two years. It was anticipated that the awkward positions and intense physical demands placed on hygienists might initiate musculoskeletal problems, but that no postural changes would occur over this short period of time. Nine of 10 dental hygienists in the graduating class of 1987 were surveyed for existing musculoskeletal complaints, and the subjects were photographed for a measurement of postural change. Responses from participants indicated an increase in musculoskeletal-related complaints in each of the six areas investigated. The photographic findings indicated that one of the nine hygienists showed an increase in forward head posture, a postural change.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Dental Hygienists*
  • Female
  • Headache / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Posture*
  • Spinal Diseases / physiopathology*