Title

Dental and physical therapy faculty collaborate in assessing and educating dental students on musculoskeletal disorders

Department

Preventive and Restorative Dentistry

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Journal of Dental Education

ISSN

0022-0337

Volume

85

Issue

1

DOI

10.1002/jdd.12387

First Page

53

Last Page

59

Publication Date

1-1-2021

Abstract

Introduction: Research shows 54% to 93% of practicing dentists suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), with many developing afflictions early in their careers. Studies also show that dental students are developing MSDs early in their professional education. Objective: The research goal was to quantify the prevalence, anatomical location and initial onset of MSDs among first-year dental students. The study also assessed the students’ self-reported opinion as to whether there were enough educational touchpoints to improve their ergonomics in daily activities. Methods: At the conclusion of a 9-month preclinical restorative course, that included 2 lectures on MSDs, ergonomics, and postural cueing sessions, a dental and physical therapy faculty member administered a survey to 143 first-year dental students. This survey included questions about the history and presentation of the students’ MSD symptoms and their opinion on the relative value of the educational interventions. Results: There was a 96.5% response rate to the survey with 87.8% of students reporting mild to moderate pain. The cervical spine (41.7%) and hands (42.4%) were the most common areas afflicted. 55.4% reported pain commencing 1 month after starting in the simulation clinic. Over 60.9% of students “agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that the 2 sessions of hands-on ergonomic educational interventions resulted in improved biomechanics and students requested additional educational resources. Conclusion: Dental students are developing MSDs as soon as 1 month after commencing dental school. Dental education should include ongoing ergonomic training throughout the curriculum to help students prevent MSDs.

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