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Musculoskeletal Disorders among Dental Practitioners: Does It Affect Practice?

DOI: 10.1155/2013/716897

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Background. Literature reviews world over have shown a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among dental practitioners. Prevalence of MSD among dental practitioners in India is not well documented. Aim. To determine the prevalence and distribution of MSD among dental practitioners in a city in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Material and Methods. A cross sectional descriptive study in which a self-administered questionnaire (the Standardized Nordic questionnaire) was used to assess the musculoskeletal symptoms among dental practitioners. The recorded data was analyzed with SPSS 13. -value 0.05 was considered to statistically significant. Results. Seventy-three dental practitioners participated in the study of which seventy-eight percent had a prevalence of at least one MSD symptom over the past twelve months. Most common areas affected by MSD in order of magnitude were neck (52%), low back (41%), shoulders (29%) and wrist (26%). One third of the practitioners (40%) required sick leave from their practice during the preceding twelve months. Conclusions. High prevalence of MSD exists among our dental practitioners affecting the daily practice of more than one third. Further studies are needed to identify the specific risk factors for MSD so as to introduce effective remedial measures. 1. Introduction Dentistry is a demanding profession involving high degree of concentration and precision. Dentists require good visual acuity, hearing, depth perception, psychomotor skills, manual dexterity, and ability to maintain occupational postures over long periods [1]. Diminution of any of these abilities affects the practitioner’s performance and productivity. Despite numerous advances in dentistry many occupational health problems still persist in modern dentistry [2]. MSD is prevalent world over and is one of the commonest causes of long-term pain and disability affecting hundreds of millions of people. This fact has been recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations with their endorsement of the Bone and Joint decade 2000–2010 [3]. MSD is characterized by presence of discomfort, disability or persistent pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft parts, caused or aggravated by repeated movements and prolonged awkward or forced body postures [4]. Literature reviews across the world have shown a high prevalence of MSD among dentists [5–8]. Dentists assume static postures at work which require more than 50% of the body’s muscle to contract while resisting gravity [4]. When the body is repeatedly subjected to such


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