According to one study, 55% of dentists experience an early retirement due to musculoskeletal disease. One of the main causes of musculoskeletal disease is the failure to keep an ergonomically correct position in the workplace.
Thus if you don’t take steps to make your dental office more ergonomic, you may soon belong to this statistic. With that said, you probably didn’t learn much about ergonomics while in school or even college. But that doesn’t mean it’s a difficult topic to understand.
Below are some tips that’ll help you transform the ergonomics of your dental office. Implement them, and you’ll be able to protect your body before it’s too late.
Schedule Time for Breaks
While productivity is a great thing, improving the ergonomics of your dental office will not count for much if you overwork yourself.
Consider asking your secretary to remind you to take a break every couple of hours or so. You might want to ask them to set up your daily schedule, so that breaks are ‘built-in.’
Plus, if you don’t take enough breaks throughout the day, it can hurt your productivity in the long run. This because the lack of breaks can lead to you developing an injury that’ll affect your ability to work.
Sure, there are going to be some days where you’ll be extremely busy. But you need to make sure those days are the exception and not the rule.
Buy the Correct Stool
As a dentist, you’re going to spend a lot of your time sitting on a stool. Because of this, it’s crucial you invest in a stool that’s comfortable.
Firstly, you need to find a stool you can adjust up and down. This’ll let you customize your seating position when working with different kinds of patients. You also want a stool that you can tilt forward and backward. This can reduce the strain on your back if you need to work at an awkward angle.
Some of the best stools on the market cost a lot of money, and this can be off-putting at first. But you should compare this with the cost of lost productivity.
For instance, you might think a stool worth $500 is too much to pay for something as simple as a stool. But odds are you’re going to lose more than $500 if you need to take a week off work, once a year, because of work-related back problems.
Some people believe that an exercise ball is a suitable replacement for a stool. In theory, this might sound good, but the truth is that an exercise ball is not a good alternative.
This is because an exercise ball does not provide as much support as a stool explicitly designed for dentists. If you want to learn more, this helpful article highlights some of the issues associated with using an exercise ball as a form of seating.
Adjust the Patient’s Dental Chair to Suit Your Needs
When working with patients, you want them to feel as comfortable as possible. But you need to be careful you don’t do this at the detriment of your wellbeing. It’s vital that you make full use of the features provided by the dental chair the patient is using.
If you’re struggling with a particular angle, avoid contorting your body so that you can see what’s going on. Instead, think about how you can adjust the dental chair so that the mouth of the patient naturally provides you with the needed view.
If you have some doubts about doing this, ask the patient if they’re okay with you adjusting their chair. If they say yes, let them know what you’re going to change and then do so in small steps. Be sure to ask the patient if they’re comfortable as you go through this process, just in case they feel nervous about saying anything themselves.
Keep Your Fitness in Check
If your fitness levels are high it can help you build upon any of the improvements you make in your dental office, in the name of ergonomics. Maintaining good fitness levels can also mean that your body will be in good shape when you make the decision to retire.
Consider investing in a gym membership to help you stay in shape. If you have doubts about your ability to attend the gym on a regular basis, think about hiring a personal trainer.
A talented personal trainer will craft a workout plan that’ll help you reach your fitness goals. They can also hold you accountable, thus making it easier for you to turn up to the gym and get through a workout.
You may worry that your workouts in the gym are going to leave you too tired to do any work at the dental office. This is a legitimate concern, but remember that you can always start slow. A good workout doesn’t have to be a workout that leaves you utterly exhausted at the end of the session.
Buy Ergonomic Scopes
If the scope is not adjustable, you’ll need to tilt your head, neck and back to get the view you need.
Maintaining these awkward positions can have a negative impact on your musculoskeletal health. Thus you need to make sure you invest in scopes that are adjustable so that they can be easily tilted upwards and downwards.
You also want to make sure that the scope provides adequate levels of magnification. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to lean forward to get a good view.
Like the stools, a good scope is going to cost you more than you expect. But the same reasoning follows, in that do you want to experience physical pain due to substandard equipment.
Do You Know How to Make Your Dental Office Ergonomically Correct
If your dental office isn’t ergonomically correct, it can lead to you experiencing a lot of physical pain. So much so that you may need to take an early retirement.
Throughout this post, we’ve touched on several ideas that’ll help improve the ergonomics of your dental office. You should buy a stool that you can adjust in various directions. You can also make better use of the features provided by the dental chair your patients are using.
It’s also vital you work on improving your fitness. If your muscles are strong, it means that you’re going to be less susceptible to injury. Though this doesn’t mean you’re free from harm, it can allow for you to extend your career as a dentist.
Thinking about hiring some staff for your dental office? Here are some tips on how you can find the right staff.