A systematic review of musculoskeletal disorders among dental professionals

Int J Dent Hyg. 2009 Aug;7(3):159-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2009.00395.x.


Musculoskeletal problems have become a significant issue for the profession of dentistry and dental hygiene. This review provides a detailed examination and discussion regarding the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in dental personnel and possible causative factors. All research studies or literature reviews, which have reported on the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms and/or potential risk factors for this problem in dentists, dental hygienists and dental students, were selected for inclusion. Our literature suggests that the prevalence of general musculoskeletal pain ranges between 64% and 93%. The most prevalent regions for pain in dentists have been shown to be the back (36.3-60.1%) and neck (19.8-85%), while the hand and wrist regions were the most prevalent regions for dental hygienists (60-69.5%). Interestingly, we found that studies on MSDs among dental and dental hygiene students are quite limited. Many risk factors have been identified, including static and awkward posture and work practices. Overall, the review suggests that musculoskeletal problems represent a significant burden for the dental profession. More research in the form of larger studies is urgently required, to help more clearly elucidate the development of this important issue for dental hygienists and dental hygiene students.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / epidemiology
  • Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Dental Hygienists* / statistics & numerical data
  • Dentists* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hand / pathology
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Students, Dental / statistics & numerical data
  • Wrist Joint / pathology