Effect of magnification loupes on dental hygiene student posture

J Dent Educ. 2008 Jan;72(1):33-44.


The chair-side work posture of dental hygienists has long been a concern because of health-related problems potentially caused or exacerbated by poor posture. The purpose of this study was to investigate if using magnification loupes improved dental hygiene students' posture during provision of treatment. The treatment chosen was hand-scaling, and the effect of the timing of introduction of the loupes to students was also examined. Thirty-five novice dental hygiene students took part in the study. Each student was assessed providing dental hygiene care with and without loupes, thus controlling for innate differences in natural posture. Students were randomized into two groups. Group one used loupes in the first session and did not use them for the second session. Group two reversed this sequence. At the end of each session, all students were videotaped while performing scaling procedures. Their posture was assessed using an adapted version of Branson et al.'s Posture Assessment Instrument (PAI). Four raters assessed students at three time periods for nine posture components on the PAI. A paired t-test compared scores with and without loupes for each student. Scores showed a significant improvement in posture when using loupes (p<0.0001), and these improvements were significantly more pronounced for students starting loupes immediately on entering the program compared with students who delayed until the second session (p<0.1). These results suggest a significant postural benefit is realized by requiring students to master the use of magnification loupes as early as possible within the curriculum.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Dental Hygienists* / education
  • Education, Dental / methods
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Lenses*
  • Linear Models
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Posture*