Simplifying toolkits for an ergonomic workflow

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  Posted by: Dental Design      13th January 2022

For successful dental practices, ergonomics and streamlined workflows are important. In many aspects, simplifying processes and creating an organised environment contribute to increased productivity and time saving. Creating an efficient workplace and using ergonomic equipment will also be of huge benefit to practitioners – preventing pain, stress, and strain. By streamlining workflows in practice, you will not only improve the experience of the dental team, but also shorten appointment times and increase revenue.

Musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include a range of inflammatory and degenerative disorders affecting muscles, tendons, and nerves. Those suffering may experience pain and functional impairment which commonly affect areas such as the neck, upper and lower back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands. It has been suggested that MSDs are one of the most common reasons for early retirement among dentists – with a high prevalence of pain among dentists commonly affecting the back and neck.[i]

Symptoms can be unpleasant, with early signs including decreased strength, pain, swelling, and numbness – and others include fatigue in the shoulders and neck as well as weak hand grip and hypersensitivity in the hands and fingers. When bad posture is sustained over a long period of time, blood flow (and therefore oxygen) to the muscles can be restricted – this has the potential to cause the spine to become misaligned.i It is important to select appropriate instruments to help combat the effects of MSDs. When it comes to hands, constantly flexing and extending the hand and wrist without appropriate rest may lead to mechanical stress. Encourage the use of ergonomically designed instruments in your practice to help reduce the need for excessive force and strain on your hand muscles.i

Workplace ergonomics

When it comes to the layout of a dentist’s work space, it’s important to focus on ergonomics. For streamlined workflows, dental equipment and instruments should be placed in optimal locations around the workstation, appropriate for their designated purpose. This may be based on: the importance principal – in which the most important items are placed in the most accessible locations, the frequency-of-use principal – in which the most frequently used items are located in the most accessible locations, the function principle – grouping similar items together, or the sequence of use principle – items are laid out in the sequence in which they are needed. Not only will organising in these ways make workflows more efficient, but this will also minimise the need to over-reach for items, straining the muscles, because required instruments are located nearby.[ii]

Many practices will already organise their workspaces according to importance – including mouth mirror, explorer and probe on-hand – with other commonly used instruments ordered based on frequency of use. This set up allows the dentist and dental nurse convenient access to equipment and supplies. Even though these principals may seem obvious, the amount of equipment many dental teams require day-to-day can make prioritising these locations challenging because of the varying sizes of instruments, safety of implementation, and the variability of uses.ii With this significantly improved workflow, treatment time will be optimised and equipment available within the practice will be used to its maximum advantage.ii

Maintaining an effectively organised workspace will also be of assistance should you look into investing in new technology. By having a clear picture of your existing toolkit, and the space available to you, you will be able to assess the effect a new piece of equipment will have on your workflow, and how best to integrate it.ii

Choose simplicity

By simplifying your toolkit and focussing on quality, versatile equipment for straightforward organisation, you can streamline your workflows more easily. LM Arte offers a comprehensive range of instruments to cover all of your complex restorative needs, with ergonomic designs optimised for user comfort and ease of use. Their range is available from J&S Davis and includes the LM Arte SOLO, the instrument duo which is designed to produce excellent results in both anterior and posterior composite restorations. The anterior tool features both a sharp and rounded tip allowing you to complete everything from precision modelling, to cervical contouring. The posterior instrument features both a flat and sharp end. Its design enables you to access deep cavities as well as execute precision modelling.

By investing in quality instruments which are versatile for use across a range of needs you are able to optimise organisation within your practice and therefore simplify workflows for the dental team. Keep your day-to-day instruments close by for maximum efficiency, and reduce the risk of stress and strain on your body.


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Author: Steve Brown Director of Sales and Marketing J&S Davis Ltd


[i] Sachdeva, Akshat, Sumit Bhateja, and Geetika Arora. “Ergonomics in dentistry: A comprehensive review.” Journal of Dental Research and Review 7.1 (2020): 32.;year=2020;volume=7;issue=1;spage=32;epage=35;aulast=Sachdeva

[ii] Ahearn, David J., Martha J. Sanders, and Claudia Turcotte. “Ergonomic design for dental offices.” Work 35.4 (2010): 495-503.

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