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September 2022 Social Commentary

When scaling and root planing, what ergonomic adjustments do you make to support your musculoskeletal health?

AmandaAmanda Cole Hill, RDH

Dimensions Brand Ambassador

Making sure to use SHARP instruments! And pulling out the area-specifics, extended-shanks, and mini-blades to ensure the instrument is doing the work and not my body.


CindyCindy Purdy, BSDH, RDH 

Dimensions Corporate Council Member and Brand Ambassador

Graceys 15/16 and 17/18. These instruments were designed for scaling while sitting, as opposed to the 11/12s and 13/14s, which were designed for scaling while standing.


KimKim Kolassa, RDH, BS

Dimensions Brand Ambassador

I ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS have the patient adjust to me. I respect my patients but my comfort is key to a successful appointment. 


MeganMegan Malzone-Shingler, RDH, BSHM

Dimensions Brand Ambassador

Sharp instruments always! I can’t do scaling and root planing without my Graceys. I always have the patient adjust to me and sometimes I find standing helps with my ergonomics during a difficult area … or patient!


RobinRobin Cox, BSDH, RDH, EPP

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

Wearing proper loupes is key. I most always sit at 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock position and I make my patients move their heads to keep my hands in neutral position. If I have a patient who can’t lay back, I stand up. You can get better posture this way.


LynnLynn Ledbetter Hart, RDH

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

I have learned to stand to treat my patients. At 5’2”, it is difficult at best to get my chair, patient chair, and patient’s head at a comfortable level. I can move about the patient’s head much more freely and keep my shoulders at a relaxed position!


CarolCarol Maddalena, RDH, RN

Dimensions Facebook Commenter

I use the body mechanism known as “leverage.” I learned this concept when I was trained to become a Red Cross-certified lifeguard. I apply a sharpened instrument under the calculus and, by rotating my body at my waste, my arms/hands remove the calculus. My neck, shoulders, and back work in unison, against the tenacity of the calculus. Once, a karate teacher was my dental patient and he remarked that I was using leverage when I worked, similar to how he taught his karate students. Almost 40 years as a clinical dental hygienist and I have never experienced any body pain relating to my ergonomics as a clinician.


Like Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s Facebook page at: facebook.com/dimensionsofdentalhygiene to share your thoughts on posted questions. We may publish your comment in an upcoming edition of our new column “Social Commentary,” and one lucky respondent will receive a coupon for a free continuing education course.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. September 2022; 20(9)12.

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