Articulating a fresh approach to back support

March 21, 2012

I absolutely love dentistry! It’s such a privilege to be able to help patients. I’m currently at a stage where patients I saw as children are bringing their children to see me. I consider the trust those people show in me to be one of the best things about working so hard to make sure people feel I’m providing the very best care.

I absolutely love dentistry! It’s such a privilege to be able to help patients. I’m currently at a stage where patients I saw as children are bringing their children to see me. I consider the trust those people show in me to be one of the best things about working so hard to make sure people feel I’m providing the very best care.

Of course, the very fact that I’m seeing “the children of former children” indicates I’ve been doing this for a while now. Well, that and the color of my hair.
I’ve been in practice long enough to have noticed the physical toll it has taken on my body. No matter how much I try to deny it, I’m noticing the effects of practicing full time for more years than I care to admit.

Tough days at the office
I’m sure there are a lot of you reading this that feel the same way. Despite our best efforts, the practice of dentistry is physically difficult and can lead to all sorts of physical problems for the doctor. I personally know of several people who are either disabled or suffering from physical problems because of what we put our bodies through.

The majority of our injuries come from the posture in which we work. In the “early days” the profession practiced “stand up” dentistry, but that led to injuries to the legs. To help combat those injuries, dentistry switched to training students to practice in a sitting posture. Unfortunately, that brought its own list of health troubles.

To the rescue comes a device from Career Extenders Inc. called the AnterioRest® that is designed to help prevent neck and back injuries that can occur during the practice of dentistry. According to the folks at AnterioRest, more than 60 percent of dentists who become disabled are suffering injuries to the neck andback. These are injuries that accumulate over time due to our posture and positioning.

When I was undergoing my clinical training, I was taught that the way to avoid these types of injuries was to ensure I was using proper posture. That meant back straight, thighs parallel to the floor, elbows in, and neck only slightly bent while making good use of the mirror.

This is all good in theory, of course, but the real world is far from a theoretically perfect place. Many of us spend our days contorting ourselves to provide the best possible care that we can.

Eliminating static tension
The AnterioRest was born out of a spine therapy practice in northern Wisconsin. There, it was noticed that a high number of dentists were moving through the practice with similar injuries to the neck and back. It was determined the problem was a combination of a lack of support and the fact that dentists use a “static muscle position” of tensing the back muscles constantly to support the posture. The constant contraction limits blood flow in and out of the tissues, causing muscle fatigue.
The goal of the AnterioRest is to eliminate static muscle contractions. How do they do this? By providing “back support from the front.” The idea is a great idea of simplicity and efficiency.
The device consists of dual articulated arms, each with a pad attached. The device is bolted to the back of the dental chair, and the ball and socket joints of the articulated arms enable you to place it into almost any position. Twisting and untwisting the handle locks and unlocks the articulated joints of the AnterioRest and allows it to be placed into any position the practitioner desires.

Once you have it where you want it, simply tighten the handle to lock the joints and lean into the pad. Most users find that after a few days of use, they find an ideal position to work from and usually don’t have to vary or adjust the device much from that position.

The Rest put to the test
From a personal standpoint, I had AnterioRest devices installed in my office this past fall. As I said earlier, I’ve been practicing for a while now and wanted to reduce the risk of injury before it started. What I’ve found in the months since is that the AnterioRest works as advertised. I find myself less fatigued by day’s end, and longer procedures don’t bother me nearly as much as they used to.
I’ve found it especially helpful for things like endo or anterior cosmetics where you spend a lot of time in one position, but it has proven to be just as handy for keeping me comfortable no matter what procedure I happen to be involved in.

The device is easy for your dental supplier to install and is very durable. I adjusted to it quickly and now find myself conditioned to using it.

If you are experiencing any type of neck or back problems I highly recommend you check out the AnterioRest to help. If you aren’t experiencing these problems, it’s still a great device to have, because gambling with your health is never a good idea. The AnterioRest is sold thru select dealers including ProHealth Equipment Distributors. Check out their website at prohealthequipment.com or call 800-605-7433.