A RULA-based comparison of the ergonomic risk of typical working procedures for dentists and dental assistants of general dentistry, endodontology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and orthodontics

  • Background: In general, the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) in dentistry is high, and dental assistants (DA) are even more affected than dentists (D). Furthermore, differentiations between the fields of dental specialization (e.g., general dentistry, endodontology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, or orthodontics) are rare. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the ergonomic risk of the aforementioned four fields of dental specialization for D and DA on the one hand, and to compare the ergonomic risk of D and DA within each individual field of dental specialization. Methods: In total, 60 dentists (33 male/27 female) and 60 dental assistants (11 male/49 female) volunteered in this study. The sample was composed of 15 dentists and 15 dental assistants from each of the dental field, in order to represent the fields of dental specialization. In a laboratory setting, all tasks were recorded using an inertial motion capture system. The kinematic data were applied to an automated version of the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA). Results: The results revealed significantly reduced ergonomic risks in endodontology and orthodontics compared to oral and maxillofacial surgery and general dentistry in DAs, while orthodontics showed a significantly reduced ergonomic risk compared to general dentistry in Ds. Further differences between the fields of dental specialization were found in the right wrist, right lower arm, and left lower arm in DAs and in the neck, right wrist, right lower arm, and left wrist in Ds. The differences between Ds and DAs within a specialist discipline were rather small. Discussion: Independent of whether one works as a D or DA, the percentage of time spent working in higher risk scores is reduced in endodontologists, and especially in orthodontics, compared to general dentists or oral and maxillofacial surgeons. In order to counteract the development of WMSD, early intervention should be made. Consequently, ergonomic training or strength training is recommended.

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Author:Fabian Christian HolzgreveORCiDGND, Laura FräulinORCiDGND, Werner BetzORCiDGND, Christina ErbeORCiDGND, Eileen M. WankeORCiDGND, Dörthe BrüggmannORCiDGND, Albert NienhausORCiDGND, Jan David Alexander GronebergORCiDGND, Christian Maurer-GrubingerORCiDGND, Daniela Maren OhlendorfORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Sensors
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2022/01/21
Date of first Publication:2022/01/21
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/11/16
Tag:ergonomics; inertial motion capture; inertial sensors; kinematic analysis; musculoskeletal disorders; risk assessment
Issue:3, art. 805
Article Number:805
Page Number:17
First Page:1
Last Page:17
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 62 Ingenieurwissenschaften / 620 Ingenieurwissenschaften und zugeordnete Tätigkeiten
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International