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Ergonomics and Dental Hygiene

Many dental hygienists work in pain or know others suffering from musculoskeletal disorders, known as MSDs. Tendonitis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other MSDs are injuries caused by wear and tear to the tendons, nerves, muscles, and joints.

Symptoms of MSDs include pain, aching, burning, stiffness, swelling, redness, and limited range of joint motion. If the cause is ignored, occasional pain can turn into chronic pain, which does not get better with rest or over-the-counter pain medicine. Dental hygienists and their employers can prevent MSDs by paying attention to ergonomics. This means taking simple and practical steps to design or arrange the workplace for safe and efficient work.

OHB partnered with the University of California, Berkeley, Ergonomics Program and the California Dental Hygienists’ Association (CDHA) to create videos on ergonomics by and for dental hygienists. Dental hygienists in California can complete continuing education units by taking a CDHA home-study course based on these videos.

Pain Is NOT in the Job Description – A New ‘Digital Story’ Series

Dental Hygiene and Ergonomics Video Series – watch all videos (20 minutes)

Video 1 – Introduction to musculoskeletal disorders  (5.17 minutes)
View Dental Hygiene and Ergonomics Video 1 on YouTube
Video 2 – Posture and positioning: Practicing dental hygiene in the real world (3.55 minutes) Video 3 – Instruments: Choosing the best and keeping them sharp (3.46 minutes)
View Dental Hygiene and Ergonomics Video 2 on YouTube View Dental Hygiene and Ergonomics Video 3 on YouTube
Video 4 – Loupes: Looking closely at our choices (4.15 minutes) Video 5 – Scheduling and strengthening: Helping our bodies to prevent injury (3.13 minutes)
View Dental Hygiene and Ergonomics Video 4 on YouTube View Dental Hygiene and Ergonomics Video 5 on YouTube

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Continuing education units for dental hygienists

Registered dental hygienists in the state of California are required to complete 25 units of continuing education (CEUs) every two years as part of their licensure renewal. Half of these units may be completed with this and other CDHA Journal Home Study Courses.

Dental Hygiene and Ergonomics: Home Study Course (2 CEUs)

 

Additional resources

University of California, Berkeley Ergonomics Program, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

California Dental Hygienists’ Association

 

Ergonomics page

Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OHSEP) home page

Occupational Health Branch home page

 
 
Last modified on: 3/10/2015 12:18 PM