June 10, 2013
Neutral Position for the Dental Clinician
Researches show that over 80 percent of the dental professionals complain of pain in the upper body and back. This pain is associated with the poor posture and movements during the dental procedures. Every clinician who uses the dental chair has to adjust it in the right way - the one that will fit his own body.
Ergonomics is the science of adjusting the design of the tools and equipment to become more comfortable and safe for the everyday work. That will guarantee a proper blood circulation to the clinician's legs, tights, wrists, feet and will avoid the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
The neutral position is the perfect positioning of the clinician's body while performing the everyday procedures. This position is safe for work and decreases the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. The risk of injury is higher when the clinician's position deviates from the neutral position.
Neutral Seated Position
1. Forearms are parallel to the floor.
2. Weight is evenly balanced.
3. Thighs are parallel to the floor.
4. Hip angle is 90°.
5. Dentist seat is positioned low enough to be able to rest feet on the floor.
6. When working on positions 9-12 (or 12-3 for the left handed) split your legs apart so that the base of the seat and your legs form a tripod. That is the most balanced and stable position.
DO NOT put your legs under the patient's back. If you have done so that means the chair is too high and you have to raise your hands higher (which is not a neutral position).
Neutral Neck Position
1. Head tilt of 0° to 15°
2. The line from your eyes to the treatment area should be as near to vertical as possible
1. Tip your head too far forward
2. Tilt your head to one side
Neutral Shoulder Position
1. Shoulders should be in horizontal line
2. Weight has to be evenly balanced when seated
1. Lift up your Shoulders toward ears
2. Hunch your shoulders forward
3. Sit with weight on one hip
Neutral Back Position
1. Lean forward slightly from the waist or hips
2. Trunk flexion of 0° to 20°
1. Stand with you back curved (over flexion of the spine)
Neutral Upper Arm Position
1. Upper arms should hang in a vertical line parallel to long axis of torso
2. Elbows at waist level are held slightly away from body
1. Abduct the elbows greater than 20° away from the body
2. Hold your elbows above the waist level
Neutral Forearm Position
1. Forearms has to be held parallel to the floor
2. Raised or lowered, if necessary, by pivoting at the elbow joint
1. Form angle between forearm and upper arm less than 60°
Neutral Hand Position
1. Little finger should be slightly lower than the thumb
2. Wrist should be aligned with forearm
1. Rotate your thumb down or place it paralel to the floor
2. Bend your hand and wrist up or down