Hand dermatitis and symptoms from the fingers among Swedish dental personnel.Swed Dent J 1998; 22(1-2):23-32SD
Hand dermatitis among dental personnel has been an issue in recent years. Dental personnel manually handle polymer materials which are known to irritate skin, and also cause allergy. In addition, dental personnel wash their hands frequently, and use latex gloves, and are therefore at risk to develop hand dermatitis. To survey the occurrence of hand dermatitis among dental personnel, questionnaires were sent to all dental teams (dentist + chair assistant) working in the two northern Swedish counties. Referents were; researchers, teachers, and secretaries from a university and high schools, from the same geographical area. The response rate was 76% for dental teams, and 66% for referents. The results show that male dentists reported a significantly higher prevalence of hand dermatitis than male reference. In contrast to chair assistants and referents, dentists (both male and female) reported a higher extent of hand dermatitis on the left than on the right hand. There was an association between hand dermatitis among dental personnel and; age, eczema in childhood, and hay fever but, not with; sex, asthma, frequent washing of the hands, and glove use. Whitening of the fingers increased with increasing age among dental personnel. Pricking was also associated with frequent glove use. Pricking of the fingers was associated with sex, and 3.5 times more common among female dental personnel than male dentists. Numbness of the fingers, and finger pain was reported by more dentists than chair assistants and referents.