A systematic review of musculo-skeletal disorders among dental professionals in the UK[i] in 2009 indicated that over 64% experience some kind of musculo-skeletal pain. This can have a serious effect on the day-to-day working life of dental professionals and, if left untreated, can lead to career-changing musculo-skeletal disorders.
Confronted as we are with such a stark statistic, it is vital that dental professionals ensure that they are maintaining a neutral posture when going about their daily business. There are a number of measures that can be taken, but arguably the most important of all is the selection of an ergonomic dental chair.
As with many products, dental chairs come in all shapes, sizes and colours and with an almost exhaustive range of bells and whistles, but if ergonomics is your priority, it’s important to look for chairs with features that will allow you to work at the correct angle and distance from your patient so that you can maintain a neutral position.
With your health and wellbeing in mind, here are our top 3 features to look out for when selecting an ergonomic chair:
1 – Easy access
Bad posture is often the result of a chair that doesn’t give the dental professional enough access to their patients or visibility into the oral cavity. A chair like the Belmont CLEO II chair offers access from the front, side and behind which allows the clinician to work unobstructed from almost every direction. This particular chair also has a unique knee-break function which extends and folds the footrest, facilitating even better, unimpeded access to the patient.
2 – Versatile control
The knee-break feature can also help with less mobile patients as, along with the foldaway, detachable armrest, it allows patients to get into it as they would a normal chair. This should mean they are able to manoeuvre themselves into the chair rather than relying on any back-straining help from you or your assistant.
The upright position which the knee-break feature can achieve also means that nervous patients can start their consultation in a normal upright position while the clinician talks to them about their treatment and what they can expect. This makes conversation much easier and more natural and helps to put patients at ease.
3 – Comfort
When you and your patient are ready for the treatment, your patient can sit back while you use the chair’s controls to move your patients smoothly and gently into position. The patient
will appreciate the soft, seamless upholstery and lumbar support, while you take advantage of the ultra-slim backrest and obstruction-free access to the patient to adopt the ideal working position. Additionally, foot controls allow you to keep your hands free and clean for the treatment while you adjust the chair position for optimum access and working comfort.
While there are all sorts of features to consider when choosing the right dental chair, it’s worth checking out the less common features that some chairs offer. Clinicians with smaller surgeries will benefit from the extra room the knee-break feature provides and its ergonomic advantages are clear to see when it comes to accessing and manoeuvring your patient and giving them the best treatment – and all while you maintain a neutral posture and… your long-term health and wellbeing!
Find out more about the CLEO II and all our other ergonomic chairs here.
[i] Hayes M, Cockrell D and Smith DR (2009). A systematic review of musculoskeletal disorders among dental professionals. Int. J. Dent Hyg. 7(3): 159-66.