Oral Health Group

Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me…….long as you pass me….


December 16, 2010
by ken

In response to a high prevalence of neck and back pain
among working dentists and dental hygienists, the dean of the
University of Maryland Dental School Christian S. Stohler, DMD,
DrMedDent, has launched an initiative to bring renewed attention to
ergonomics into dental education.

Pretzel

Image via Wikipedia

Starting with the current semester, every incoming student must take the
School’s course “Ergonomics in Dentistry,” before he or she can
practice simulations or live-patient dental work. The School wants to be
the place where dentists and dental hygienists learn to practice
ergonomically correct practices, says Stohler.

“Three out of every five dentists live with the pain,” due to years of
practicing with poor posture and other unwise positioning,guest
lecturer Lance Rucker, DDS, director of clinical ergonomics and
simulation at the University of British Columbia, told this year’s
incoming class.

Stohler recruited Rucker as the world’s leading authority on dentistry
ergonomics to kick off its course with a lecture and workshops. He
greeted the new students with, “If you want to be a healthy,
well-postured individual, statistically you have chosen the wrong
profession. However, you do have a choice.”

Studies in the U.S. and in Canada over the past 37 years have
underscored the need for dentists to adopt more ergonomically correct
equipment and positioning, Rucker explained. He said that two-thirds of
dentists lose days of practice each year by avoidable muscular skeletal
pain.

Retired professor Michael Belenky, DDS, MPH, has taught what he refers
to as human center ergonomics at the School for many years,” We first
ask a student to identify how he or she would like to stand or sit for
optimal visual and physical comfort and effectiveness,” says Belenky
“Many dentists eventually need years of physical therapy,
go to a chiropractor or even have surgery, but seldom do you hear about
the need for preventive solutions, the etiology of the problem.”

Norman Bartner, DDS, a clinical assistant professor who leads the
upgraded course, (above with students) says, “We are widely recognized
as the no. 1 dental school in the country. Now we want to be known as
the School that graduates students with the longest careers, greatest
earning capacity, and enjoy the most leisure time because they are
healthy.” He added, “This should increase alumni financial support for
the School as well.”

Bartner and Belenky have created an instructional video that begins with
dentists who have been forced from the profession with musculo-skeletal
problems, due to poor ergonomic working conditions.

Bartner says, “I don’t want students developing musculo-skeletal problems from chronic stress
on the neck, shoulder, high back, and low back. We start all the dental
students off with knowing the proper posture as a dentist for avoiding
such career-limiting problems.”

Source: University of Maryland Baltimore


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