Work environment of dental hygienists

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Jun;47(6):633-9. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000165745.89527.7e.


Objective: We sought to evaluate how musculoskeletal disorders and workplace psychosocial factors affect dental hygienists' work hours and productivity.

Methods: We mailed a survey to dental hygienists in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California.

Results: Musculoskeletal pain caused 27% of hygienists to decrease work hours and 8.7% to change office locations. Hand/wrist pain caused the most missed workdays. Conversely, conflicts with the dentist caused 28.2% of dental hygienists to change jobs and 12.7% to decrease work hours. Conflicts with staff caused 17.1% to change office locations but only 7.0% to decrease work hours. This pattern was confirmed with multiple logistic regression analyses.

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal and psychosocial factors affect dental hygienists differently: musculoskeletal discomfort is more likely to cause dental hygienists to decrease their working hours, whereas professional and social conflicts are more likely to lead to change in work location.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • California / epidemiology
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Dental Hygienists* / psychology
  • Efficiency
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires