Wellness countdown to 2022: 10. Ergonomic support for dentists, dental team

Editor's note: Here’s to a healthier 2022! Let’s face it…it hasn’t been an easy year, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact day-to-day lives.

In August 2020, an ADA Health Policy Institute survey on the impact of COVID-19 on dentists under the age of 35 found that 87% reported experiencing anxiety and 55% reported experiencing depression. In the same survey, 55% were not familiar with mental health and other supportive services; and over 30% were not comfortable seeking out mental health services for themselves or team members. Early indications from the 2021 health survey show continued mental health concerns for dentists, including anxiety and depression.

Let’s countdown the last busy days of 2021 by highlighting wellness resources and tips the ADA has to offer — from toolkits on workplace wellness and videos on ergonomics to webinars and fact sheets on mental health.

10. Ergonomic support for dentists, dental team

Practicing dentistry often involves being in uncomfortable postures and performing repetitive hand motions for long periods of time. As a result, 40-60% of dental professionals suffer from work-related musculoskeletal issues, such as low back pain.

“Since the pandemic started, team members began to report additional symptoms, things like headaches, mental fatigue, dehydration and elevated levels of physical exhaustion,” said Dr. Bethany Valachi.

These symptoms could be result of the continued use of heavy PPE and additional safety precautions as more patients return to the dental practice — in addition to the continuing physical, emotional and financial toll brought on by the pandemic.

In the video, Minding Your Body: Ergonomics Support for Dentists and Teams, brought to you in part by a grant from Crest + Oral-B, Dr. Valachi walks your through the ergonomic impact of dentistry during the pandemic and ways to get back on track for your overall health.

Dr. Valachi guides viewers through breathing and stretching exercises that can help mitigate the results of heavy PPE and the mental and physical stress brought on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video is an ideal educational session for the entire dental team during a “lunch and learn” or at any time.

For additional ergonomics resources, here are 7 Ergo Tips to Help You Stay Healthy .

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