The pathologies that dentists and, more in general, dental professionals most frequently suffer from are certainly musculoskeletal ones: cervical problems, in the dorsal-lumbar area, resulting in painful radiations due to the positions held during operations, and which may cause tingling and reduced sensitivity in the hands. When these disorders reach a chronic level, the dentist or professional is forced to stop working even for several months to undergo treatment and rehabilitation.
Day-to-day work is the the most frequent cause of posture-related pain.
The dental profession, in particular, in which the operator has to bend over patients for medium-to-long periods of time, requires ergonomic measures to counteract the disorders associated with the profession.
These risks are heightened when the dentist is unusually tall: greater height increases the likelihood of incorrect posture and, consequently, muscular pain.
This is why implementing certain measures, both in lifestyle management and in the design of the work environment and choice of equipment, can help prevent and contain occupational disorders linked to the characteristics of the profession and the lack or inadequacy of good ergonomic practices.
As already mentioned, being unusually tall can have consequences that should not be underestimated in terms of posture. For this reason, the first thing to do to reduce pain and disorders is to take measures in advance, by trying to improve one’s posture.
With the evolution of the modern working world, which has increasingly shifted towards sedentary activities, it is advisable for everyone, and in particular if you are very tall, to incorporate in your daily routine exercises to strengthen the back muscles, stretching and muscle moving activities, such as yoga or Pilates. These activities are essential for people who spend most of their time sitting or standing in the same position for several hours, and help promote correct posture during prolonged stationary activities.
Indeed, posture-related muscles are involuntary muscles, which cannot be controlled directly. You can, however, help indirectly by implementing a number of strategies such as not keeping your legs crossed, keeping your back as straight as possible and supported by the backrest, and trying to distribute your body weight evenly over your legs.
A widely discussed topic in the dental field is how to make the patient as comfortable as possible during treatment; the equally important well-being of the dentist and assistants is less thoroughly addressed.
In fact, the operations entailed in dental practice mean that dentists and their assistants remain in ‘uncomfortable’ positions for long periods of time, sitting and bending forward to better treat the patient, and can cause tension in the neck, shoulders and back with consequent pain that, if prolonged over time, can impair the medical performance.
This risk is heightened if the dentist is particularly tall, especially because the equipment is commonly not properly chosen and is not usually designed for non-standard heights.
Maintaining an upright position during operations is crucial because an unnatural and unbalanced curvature of the back can cause acute pain. For this reason, it is a good idea to use ergonomic stools, adjustable both in height and seat tilt, and with a special backrest to prevent the formation of static loads on the spinal column. The posture to aim for to relieve pressure on the neck and shoulders is with the feet firmly on the ground, the pelvis tilted forward by about 20°, the arms at a comfortable height at an angle of 10-25° and the shoulders relaxed, with the patient positioned perpendicularly, ideally at a distance of about 35-40 cm and the light behind, but at the same height as the dentist’s eyes, so that he/she doesn’t have to adopt awkward postures to compensate for bad lighting.
It is also a good idea to plan the working day to also include activities to be performed standing up, thanks to chairs that can reach suitable heights, and to include stretching and loosening up exercises as far as possible during breaks to counteract the static nature of the profession.
As can already be seen in the article “Postural ergonomics: an element that should not be underestimated by dentists“, Tecnodent takes ergonomics seriously.
Particularly tall operators should use stools that allow adequate adjustment of the lumbar support, and that reach a suitable height to allow for the proper positioning of the legs.
It is also fundamental that the materials used be of high quality and specific for the requirements, e.g. industrial memory foam seating, or soft foam seating, depending on the average duration of the operations.
The chair on which the patient sits can also have an impact on the operator’s comfort: both with regard to the correct positioning of the patient, and because a patient who is sufficiently comfortable will tend to move less, significantly reducing the duration of the treatment, and consequently limiting the stress load on the operator’s musculoskeletal system.
Tecnodent offers its customers highly customisable products with numerous adjustment possibilities, so that each operator can achieve (and store, on chairs with this option, which is very useful when several operators share the same equipment) the best set-up according to their physical characteristics, including height.
The range of stools includes models designed according to ergonomic principles, to meet the specific needs of dentists and assistants, even those of above-average height.
Moreover, Tecnodent has dental chairs that reach strategic heights, so that even particularly tall operators can assume a comfortable position and/or work standing up: LINDA NEXT reaches a maximum height of 875 mm (900 mm with rotation), while LINDA EVO reaches 880 mm (905 mm with rotation).
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to learn more about ergonomics and discover the products that have been developed over time to meet the specific needs and characteristics of all operators.