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J Am Dent Assoc. 2012 Oct;143(10):1105-13.

The effects of periodontal curette handle weight and diameter on arm pain: a four-month randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1301 S. 46th St., Building 163, Richmond, CA 94804, USA. david.rempel@ucsf.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The design of periodontal curette handles may cause or aggravate arm pain in dental practitioners. The authors conducted a four-month randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of curette handle diameter and weight on arm pain among dental hygienists and dentists.

METHODS:

One hundred ten dental hygienists and dentists who performed scaling, root planing or dental prophylaxis procedures participated in this study. The authors assessed right wrist/hand, elbow/forearm and shoulder pain levels weekly. They randomized participants to receive either a set of light (14 grams) periodontal curettes with a large diameter (11 millimeters) or a set of heavy (34 g) periodontal curettes with a narrow diameter (8 mm). The authors compared changes in mean pain scores across the study period between intervention groups by using general linear models and controlling for covariates.

RESULTS:

The improvement in pain scores across the three body regions was greater for participants who used the lighter, wider-diameter curettes. In the final adjusted model, the differences were statistically significant only for the shoulder region (P = .02).

CONCLUSIONS:

The study results show that dental instrument design has an effect on upper-extremity pain in dental practitioners. Using a lighter instrument with a wider diameter may be an easy and cost-effective intervention to reduce or prevent upper-extremity pain associated with dental hygiene procedures.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:

To prevent or reduce arm pain, practitioners should consider using lightweight instruments with large diameters when performing scaling and root planing procedures.

PMID:
23024308
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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