Top 7 ways to perfect your posture and lengthen your career

June 1, 2013

Practicing dentistry can take a toll on you physically, leading to an early retirement or even a career change. But practicing dentistry doesn't have to be painful. Follow these tips and you'll go through your day pain-free.

Practicing dentistry can take a toll on you physically, leading to an early retirement or even a career change. But practicing dentistry doesn't have to be painful. Follow these tips and you'll go through your day pain-free.

1. Find the right support

You sit a lot throughout the day, and in the same, unsupported position. This causes a lot of wear and tear on your muscles, and that leads to many of the physical problems dentists face. Find an ergonomic seating option that properly supports you. Stools with a tilted seat pan and saddle stools are great options. Remember: Proper seating is the foundation for perfect posture and alleviating pain.

2. Seat your patients properly

How the patient is seated also is important. Make sure your patient seating is flexible, and that the headrests as well as the upper and lower arches are properly adjusted.

3. Magnification matters

You need to practice with a neutral neck posture, which is nearly impossible without the proper magnification. If you’re not using loupes, you’re constantly leaning in to get a better look at the patient’s mouth, which leads to neck and back fatigue. Magnification brings the teeth closer, and enables you to practice properly.

4. Take care of your hands

If you’re not using the proper instruments, you’re likely dealing with hand fatigue and carpal tunnel. Look for ergonomic instruments that are lightweight, comfortable to grip and easy to maneuver.

5. What you do after-hours matters

Doing the proper exercises during non-work hours also can help with work-related pain. Focus on exercises that target specific muscles.  Yoga is another way to calm your mind and relieve muscle pain.

6. Ergonomic operatory set up

The less movement you have to make during procedures, the better. Your operatory should be set up to make you as efficient as possible. Cabinetry shouldn’t be too far away. In fact, everything should be within arm’s length.  

7. Educate yourself on long-term risks

Not having the proper tools will lead to physical pain and maybe an early retirement. Make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest developments and invest in products that will keep you pain-free and practicing long term.

Want to learn more about keeping your hands healthy? Check out this episode of DPR Friday:

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