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J Phys Ther Sci. 2013 Jul;25(7):821-6. doi: 10.1589/jpts.25.821. Epub 2013 Aug 20.

Approach of industrial physical therapy to assessment of the musculoskeletal system and ergonomic risk factors of the dental hygienist.

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Department of Dental Hygiene, Kangwon National University.


This study aimed to provide fundamental data to be utilized in preventing and treating musculoskeletal disorders and analyzing working postures commonly used during periodontal treatment. [Subjects] The subjects were three dental hygienists with work experience in dental clinics for more than 10 years. [Methods] For the analysis of working postures, we simulated the work posture of dental hygienists during the scaling procedures and oral radiographic imaging tasks. The subjects were recorded on video to precisely observe them while they were working. The captured working postures were assessed and analyzed using ergonomic assessment methods, the Rapid Entire Body Assessment, Rapid Upper Limb Assessment, and Strain index. [Results] No differences were exhibited in the intensities of manual scaling and ultrasonic scaling. Commonly, the shoulders and waist were found to be the most overburdened. According to the strain index, manual scaling and ultrasonic scaling working postures were identified to be most dangerous. [Conclusion] The work postures of dental hygienists during scaling are postures that are highly likely to generate work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Therefore, the development of therapeutic exercise programs easily performable in the workplace and daily life is thought to be crucial to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders.


Dental hygienist; Ergonomic risk factor; Musculoskeletal disorder

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