Want a career that keeps you on your feet? As a dental hygienist, youa��ll complete a variety of tasks like sterilizing equipment, cleaning teeth during routine checkups, and providing assistance during complex procedures.
All that time spent cleaning teeth, peering into the mouths of patients, and working with dental tools makes for a unique workday. But, for dental hygienists who have poor posture, ita��s possible to develop some muscle pain and other problems. In fact, about two-thirds of dental professionals often feel stiffness or cramping during their workday and beyond.
By developing good habits early, students studying dental hygiene can look forward to a long and healthy career in this in-demand field.
What are these habits? Read on to find out!
What Is Ergonomics?
Before jumping into which habits help dental hygienist school grads, ita��s important to take a look at where these habits come from, and thata��s ergonomics.
Ergonomics is about adapting a work environmenta��whether ita��s a business office, a workshop, or a dental officea��to promote good posture and reduce muscle pain and tightness.
Ergonomics looks at how repetitive motions or prolonged muscle strain can lead to problems down the road, such as:
- back pain
- neck pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- nerve entrapment syndrome
Every career has the potential to lead to these problems, but with a few ergonomics-inspired habits, dental hygienists can avoid these conditions and enjoy a long and healthy career.
Recognize Symptoms Before they Become a Problem
One of the top reasons why dental professionals develop problems like back pain, carpal tunnel, or neck pain is that they ignore small symptoms when theya��re still easy to treat.
They might experience a symptom like stiffness or a tight muscle, but because the problem doesna��t seem to be severe, they might choose to power through their discomfort in order to help a patient. Unfortunately, ignoring small symptoms can cause these small issues to grow into bigger problems later on. Thata��s why ita��s important for students to make a habit of watching out for signs and symptoms like the following:
- numbness, tingling or a burning feeling
- decreased grip strength
- muscle pain or cramping
- stiffness in the neck, back, hands, and shoulders
By staying on top of these early warning signs, professionals can make the changes they need to avoid their symptoms turning into a potentially painful condition.
Use a Good Chair During Your Dental Hygienist Training and Career
As youa��ll learn in your dental hygiene diploma program, prevention is an important part of maintaining good oral health. In a similar way, keeping a good posture helps prevent muscular problems before they even start.
To help keep your posture in top shape, try using an ergonomically designed chair that is adjustable. Using this type of chair promotes a neutral balance where your head is over your shoulders and your shoulders are over your hipsa��so that youa��re not leaning forward or slouching backwards.
For extra ease, try opting for an easy-access patient chair too. That way you dona��t have to worry about leaning in or standing in an uncomfortable position in order to work on a patient.
Are you interested in pursuing dental hygienist training?
Visit CADH to find out how our students scored well above the provincial average National Dental Hygiene Certification Board Exam and more!