Musculoskeletal symptoms among dental personnel; - lack of association with mercury and selenium status, overweight and smoking.Swed Dent J. 2000; 24(1-2):23-38.SD
Our objective was to describe the occurrence of musculoskeletal symptoms and how they affect the daily life of three different occupational groups of dental personnel. A cross sectional-study was performed among 268 dental staff members and 111 referents. Female dental hygienists and female dentists showed, compared with their referents, higher prevalence of symptoms during the past 12 months from neck, shoulders and hands/wrists. Both dental groups also had higher frequencies of combined symptoms from these body regions, as well as longer duration of symptoms in neck and shoulders during the past 12-month period. Male dentists had higher frequencies of neck and shoulder symptoms compared with their referents. Female dental assistants did not deviate from their referents. The symptoms from each single body region, or the occurrence of symptoms from multiple regions in a subject, did not show any statistically significant association with mercury (whole blood and urinary levels) or selenium (plasma level) status, neither with smoking habits nor overweight (Body Mass Index). The high frequency of musculoskeletal disorders probably reflects the specific work load in dentistry, with high demands on vision and precision and fine manipulative hand movements and work with unsupported, elevated arms. The symptoms might impair work capacity and the future possibility to stay in the profession. Further studies are needed to verify this.