Peripheral nerve dysfunction in practicing dental hygienists

J Dent Hyg. 1990 Oct;64(8):382-7.


Hand-intensive repetitive procedures such as those performed by dental hygienists can lead to cumulative trauma disorders of the upper extremity. One such disorder is median nerve dysfunction leading to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Vibrometry has been used in industrial settings as a method of early detection of sensory nerve impairment. This technique uses vibratory stimuli to assess the level of sensory perception in the fingertips. Using programmed frequency stimuli, 58 practicing dental hygienists were evaluated bilaterally for median nerve dysfunction. Results indicated that 15 (25.9%) of the dental hygienists reported the presence of CTS symptoms, while 7 (12.0%) tested positive for mild median nerve dysfunction. The findings suggest that vibrometry testing could aid in the early detection of CTS, thereby reducing its effects on clinical practice and facilitating early treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology*
  • Dental Hygienists*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Vibration