Prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders in oral health care professionals: A systematic review

J Am Dent Assoc. 2019 Jun;150(6):489-502. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2019.01.031. Epub 2019 Apr 25.


Background: The authors' objective in this systematic review was to describe the evidence for preventive and rehabilitative interventions for musculoskeletal disorders in oral health care.

Types of studies reviewed: The authors conducted systematic search, screening, and eligibility processes to identify experimental, quasiexperimental, observational, and survey research studies in which the investigators either directly evaluated or predicted the effects of preventive or rehabilitative interventions on the reduction of musculoskeletal symptoms in oral health care professionals.

Results: The authors identified and screened 3,571 unique abstracts, assessed 256 full-text articles for eligibility, and included 34 articles in the review. Investigators in 17 experimental studies described the results of preventive or rehabilitation interventions and in 17 survey research studies predicted or correlated preventive or protective techniques to a reduction in musculoskeletal symptoms. The primary techniques evaluated in the studies included equipment modification, ergonomic training, and physical exercise.

Conclusions and practical implications: The evidence suggests that magnification loupes and indirect-vision techniques have a positive effect on the reduction of musculoskeletal symptoms. In terms of evaluating intervention efficacy, other techniques have mixed evidence or are limited by low-level study design.

Keywords: Ergonomics; dental hygienists; dentists; injury prevention; musculoskeletal disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ergonomics
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases*
  • Occupational Diseases*
  • Oral Health*