Dentists Complaining about Back and Neck Pains
Dentists and dental hygienists have been complaining a lot about back and neck pains. Christian S. Stohler, DMD, dean of the University of Maryland Dental School, has launched a program to bring attention to ergonomics in the dental curriculum.
The University of Maryland Dental School will require students to take Ergonomics in Dentistry before the student can practice simulations or do live patient dental work. Stohler said that the school is a place where dental hygienists and dentists learn to practice ergonomically correct practices.
Guest lecturer Lance Rucker, DDS, director of clinical ergonomics and simulation from the University of British Columbia, said that three out of every five dentists experience pain. Stohler recruited Rucker to start the course with lecture and workshops. Rucker is the world’s leading authority on dentistry ergonomics. He said that if students want to be healthy and well-postured, they are in the wrong profession according to statistics. But he added that they have a choice.
According to studies in the Canada and the US over the last 37 years, there is a need for dentists to adopt more ergonomically correct positioning and equipment. Rucker added that two thirds of dentists lose days of practice every year due to avoidable muscular skeletal pain.
Retired professor Michael Belenky, DDS, MPH, has taught human center ergonomics at the University of Maryland Dental School for several years. He said that students must identify how one would like to sit or stand to achieve physical and visual comfort and effectiveness. Most dentists require physical therapy, visits to chiropractor, or surgery. There is no talk about preventive solutions.
Norman Bartner, DDS, clinical assistant professor who leads the upgraded course, said that the University of Maryland Dental School has been known as the top dental school in the country. With the new course, they want the school to be known as having graduates with the longer careers.