Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)
Because of the common occurrence of pain experienced by dental professionals during the course of a workday and throughout their career, an epidemiological and a field study were performed in an effort to contribute to the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in dentistry. The aim of the thesis is two fold: to assess the perception of occupational pain and discomfort felt by dentists through a perception based survey and to assess the muscle behavior of dentists during isotonic postures while performing various dental procedures on their first and last patients in a given work day. One hundred (100) dentists participated in the survey and ten (10) dentists out of the same sample group participated in the field study. Eight (8) EMG measurements were taken per dentist (four measurements per area of the back during the course of the day): representing lower back and upper trapezius EMG during the first minute of the first patient’s visit and lower back and upper trapezius EMG during the last minute of the first patient’s visit. The results of the survey indicate that fifty-eight percent of all of the respondents reported that they experience or have experienced some form of pain in their lower back, shoulder or neck during their tenure as a practicing dentist. Sixty-nine percent stated that the pain is such a real issue that they work out regularly to avoid it. Forty-seven percent report that they find comfort and muscle relaxation through massages and massage therapy. The development of muscle fatigue was assessed by spectral analysis (median frequency). It was found that the median frequency decreased significantly in the upper trapezius muscle from the last minute of the first patient to both the first and last minutes of the last patients. Perception of pain was found to have a significant relationship with the change in EMG frequency recorded after both 4 and 8 hours of work.
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Pitts, Frank Maurice, "Musculoskeletal disorders in dentistry" (2005). LSU Master's Theses. 1313.