Dental Ergonomics Part 1



Musculoskeletal pain develops when clinicians practice dentistry with less than optimal postures; twisting and bending the neck and torso, compressing the spine, using muscles and joints inefficiently.   This is the reason why there is such a high incidence of work-related chronic pain in the dental profession.

Ignorance prevails in the profession as the education system in dental colleges misses out on one of the most important keys to success in promoting healthy dental career i.e. dental ergonomics enabling the dentist to work comfortably, stress-free in a painless & healthy way.

How the operator sits on a stool and bends over the chair is as important as the stool and chair design. The way instruments are held is as important as the design of the instrument. Hence awareness on Dental Ergonomics is the need of the hour.



Dr. Abhinav Kathuria (MDS)

Dr. Ravneet Kaur (MDS)

Dr. Ritika Garg (BDS)




    Practicing Dentistry Pain Free

    Dental Ergonomics

    This course unites dental operatory to the dentist and allows both to work in coordination with each other thereby eliminating pain that a dentist is prone to due to static forward bending posture & poor operatory layout.

    •    Musculoskeletal disorders amongst Dental professionals.
    •    How poor posture in Dentistry lead to Musculoskeletal disorders?
    •    Why is Dental Ergonomics important?
    •    Is your Dental Delivery system delivering Pain?
    •    How to prevent Work-related Pain in Dentistry?
    •    Stretching your way Out of Pain with correct posture & chairside stretches.
    •    Exercises for Dental Professionals.
    •    Ergonomizing workstation with correct Operatory layout & Equipment selection.


    •    Practice dentistry pain-free
    •    Maintaining Neutral working posture
    •    Reduce potential for overexertion injury
    •    Train dentists to perform chairside exercises in between appointments
    •    Arranging dental stool and dental chair optimally
    •    Ergonomic Instrument & Equipment selection 

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

      • Understand the impact of physiological stress on one’s well-being.
      • Understand how ergonomics is vital in all aspects of dentistry.
      • Identify characteristics of equipment that will promote good ergonomics.
      • Identify risks that lead to musculoskeletal pain.
      • Identify the predominant areas of pain in the dental practitioner and how often they occur.
      • Identify ways to modify the dental team’s work practice.
      • Apply the concept of cognitive awareness to prevent musculoskeletal dysfunction.
      • Learn how nutrition is important in preventing muscle pain.
      • Recognize the benefits of physical activities in reducing musculoskeletal disorders.


    Dr. Abhinav Kathuria (MDS)

    Dr. Ravneet Kaur (MDS)

    Dr. Ritika Garg (BDS)


    Gums n Braces Dental Clinic

    Pre Quiz

    Chapter 1 : Musculoskeletal Pain & Disorders - An Introduction

    This chapter deals with how dentists start experiencing pains in musculoskeletal structure. 60%-90% Dentists suffer from work-related musculoskeletal disorders(WMSD's) which affect neck, shoulders, back and upper extremities.Prevention of WMSD's is becoming crucial and requires the identification and modification of risk factors. Individual characteristics of the worker--such as gender, age, stature, physical condition, strength, etc.--may contribute to the occurrence of these musculoskeletal disorders.  Causes of MSD’s among dentists are:

    •          Repetitive motions (e.g., scaling, polishing)
    •          Excessive Force (e.g. tooth extraction)
    •          Static neck, back, and shoulder postures
    •          Grasping small instruments for prolonged periods
    •          Prolonged use of vibrating hand tools


    This chapter is an introduction to various musculoskeletal disorders & their prevalence among dental professionals.

    Musculoskeletal Pain and Disorders - An Introduction - 4:45

    Chapter 2 : Cumulative Trauma Disorder: Risk Factors

    Accumulation of pain due to insufficient breaks in between appointments lead to Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs). In this chapter we will discuss what are the causes that lead to CTD's, its warning signs and symptoms. Cumulative trauma disorders are health disorders arising from repeated bio-mechanical stress to the hands, wrist, elbows, shoulders, neck and back.

    Cumulative Trauma Disorder - 3:23

    Chapter 3 : What's causing your Pain?

    This chapter incorporates various static postures in which dentists work and accounts for the risk factors leading to trauma in dentistry. Further, in this section there is detailed description of muscle ischemia, muscle imbalances and trigger points leading to CTD's  among dentists. One of the biggest challenges in dentistry are the prolonged static postures that are forced to sustain for long period of time chairside.

    What causes your Pain? - 6:43

    Chapter 4 : Classification of Motion

    Amount of motion a dentist does in the operatory to reach for the instruments or into the oral cavity defines ergonomic working styles. Through classifying these degree of motions one can discover which motions should be avoided. Hence, in this following chapter we will be discussing in detail the classification of motions to deliver patient care and stating which motions should be prohibited in order to maintain balanced seated posture.  

    Classification of Motion - 4:54

    Chapter 5 : Posture, Positioning & Periodic Stretching (3P's to Fitness)

    A "good" posture provides the dentist more working energy, a reduced stress level, increased comfort, lack of pain and muscular tension and a lower risk for therapeutic errors.

    Positioning not only the dentist but the operatory to fit the dentist’s need and posture throughout the treatment provides with comfortable stress free working environment.

    Incorporating Periodic stretching chairside and outside the operatory maintains normal range of motion and improving flexibility.

    Thus, in this chapter optimal seating posture, positioning of operatory and easy chairside 15-20 seconds stretches are described.

    Part A- Posture - 5:55
    Part B- Positioning - 9:27
    Part C- Periodic Stretching - 4:50

    Chapter 6: Forward Bending results in Pain in Back

    Introduction to what are the factors that cause pain in back of a working dental professional, description of various seating postures that cause muscle imbalances and keys to prevention of low back pains. In addition to, this chapter also describes how different seating postures affect the spine and keys to obtain a balanced seated posture in order to prevent low back pains. 

    Causes of Back Pain in Dentistry - 4:54
    Low Back Pain - Keys to Prevention - 7:36

    Chapter 7: Hand Pain due to Over flexion of Wrist

    This chapter deals with describing what causes pain in hand with continuous working,  amount of flexion of wrist for optimal working, type of instruments that should be used while operating and working postures. Moreover, it provides with discussion of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is most commonly associated with pain in hand for dentists. It explains how an over flexed wrist causes increased pressure and results in immense  pain in wrist and fingers.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Hand Pain - 7:49
    Hand Pain Syndromes - Keys to Prevention - 11:23

    Chapter 8: Practicing Dentistry Shouldn't be Pain in Neck and Shoulders

    This chapter describes various disorders leading from pain in neck and shoulders, working postures that lead to increase in stress in neck and shoulder muscles causing trigger points and then addressing strategies to prevent and reduce neck and shoulder pains.

    Introduction to Pain in Neck and Shoulders - 1:49
    Tension Neck Syndrome - 2:01
    Trapezius Myalgia - 4:22
    Cervical Instability - 1:54
    Rotator Cuff Impingement - 2:36
    Neck and Shoulder Pain - Keys to Prevention - 8:40

    Chapter 9: Exercises For Dental Professionals

    Certain specific exercises for dentists that should be performed in order to relax muscles which are tightened due to working conditions in the operatory. Practicing these specific exercises decreases muscle pains and enables dentists to work pain free.

    In this chapter we will discuss short and simple exercises along with yoga which will prove beneficial against the chronic pains which developed due to years of dysfunctional postures and movements in dentistry.

    These exercises involve use of Swiss ball and a S-shaped self massage tool that helps in relieving trigger points and preventing as well as minimizing pain. If these exercises are done as explained in chapter, protection against symptoms of pain caused by static postural loads can be achieved. 

    Exercises Specific For Dental Professionals - 12:47

    Post Quiz

Maximum duration of video: 1:45:48
Total number of questions: 51

Course Certificate

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Course Overview

Maximum duration of video: 1:45:48
Total number of questions: 51

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