How many hours do you spend at work every day? Eight? Ten? Maybe even more. Chances are, if you’re working in the dental industry, you and your employees will spend about half of your waking hours at work. This means constantly bending over, long hours on your feet, manipulating dental instruments, and repetitive up-and-down movements that put a strain on muscles and joints daily.
No one likes working with constant pain and discomfort, and the stress of working in these types of conditions can impact workplace performance and employee satisfaction. So, what’s the solution to this very common problem? Dental ergonomics.
Dental ergonomics means creating a workplace environment that fits the physical needs of the workers in order to improve workplace comfort and employee productivity.
Years of experience across all demographics has shown time and time again that the strenuous positions that dentists and hygienists are put in can compromise patient care and negatively impact the physical health of service providers. Simply put, incorporating dental ergonomics into a dental office design helps to make the environment best suited for comfortably providing patient care day after day. Without accounting for dental ergonomics, dentists often experience debilitating pain that can affect their ability to effectively serve their patients. Many common symptoms and conditions include:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Eye strain
- Joint pain in wrists and elbows
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Knee pain
Why is Dentistry so Stressful and Straining for Dentists and Hygienists?
Dentists have to work extremely close to their patients when performing their job. Because patients come in all shapes and sizes, dentists have to adapt their positioning to comfortably serve their patients. This involves bending at different angles, contorting the wrists to work closely in people’s mouths, and constant eye strain to observe dental needs inside a patient’s mouth. One dentist may be moving up and down, shifting from patient to patient constantly throughout short periods of time. All of these factors can put extra strain on the eyes, joints, and spine.
How Does Dental Ergonomics Help?
Seating- Ergonomically correct chairs allow dentists to sit in a tripod position with feet flat on the floor while performing surgeries or procedures. They allow dentists to maneuver easily and adjust their positioning easily without complication. These seats are height adjustable and can easily swivel as necessary.
Patient Positioning- Because patients are different shapes and sizes, it’s important for dentists to be able to easily treat those “hard to reach” places in their mouths without difficulty. Patient treatment chairs should be height adjustable and reclining. This will allow the dentist to easily (and comfortably) reposition the patient to a proper angle for treatment.
Lighting- Lighting is key to ensuring proper client care and a dentist’s physical health. The right amount and type of lighting will reduce eye strain and allow the dentist to offer high quality care while providing treatment.
Dental ergonomics can extend into other parts of the office besides the treatment rooms. Staff working in billing, reception, or patient care also need ergonomic conditions to properly and comfortably perform their daily responsibilities.
The Benefits of Dental Ergonomics
Taking a little time up front to consider incorporating dental ergonomics into your dental office design can provide many substantial benefits worth noting:
- Fewer worker’s compensation claims.
- Increased savings from fewer job-related injuries.
- Reduced absenteeism.
- Increased morale and workplace satisfaction.
- More productive and sustainable employees.
When workers feel comfortable and valued at work, their performance improves. There is less complaining on the job and more time available for work. When dental ergonomics are considered, everyone wins.
Let the experts at HJT Dental Design Consultants help you incorporate dental ergonomics into your new dental office design. With the right solutions in place, your office will be transformed into a space patients and staff enjoy every day. Contact us to make your dental office design plans a reality.