PORTLAND, Ore., U.S.: Research shows that 75% of dental professionals complain of musculoskeletal pain, and now the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to the problem by causing additional stress and physical exertion. Dr. Bethany Valachi, author of Practice Dentistry Pain-Free: Evidence-based Strategies to Prevent Pain and Extend Your Career and clinical instructor of ergonomics at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, will hold a live webinar on Jan. 13 to provide an overview of her five-step system that aims to take the pain out of dental practice.
Despite the vast clinical and technological progress that has been made in dentistry, the prevalence of lower back pain in dental practitioners remains the same today as it was in the mid-1940s. Three-quarters of dental professionals complain of a musculoskeletal disorder, and one-third of dentists who retire early do so because of the condition.
According to Valachi, pain need not be a necessary result of dental practice. She added, however: “Unfortunately, many dental and hygiene schools do not teach comprehensive evidence-based ergonomic and wellness education. Also, many dental equipment manufacturers offer nonergonomic equipment that can actually create pain syndromes.”