Journal of Occupational Health
Online ISSN : 1348-9585
Print ISSN : 1341-9145
The prevalence of occupational health-related problems in dentistry: A review of the literature
Rajeshree MoodleySaloshni NaidooJacqueline van Wyk
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Volume 60 (2018) Issue 2 Pages 111-125

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The study was conducted to report on the scope and prevalence of occupational health related-problems experienced by dentists, dental therapists, and oral hygienists in their practice of dentistry. Background: Professional practice and dental training have many risk factors, and the dental team should be able to recognize these factors to protect themselves. The prevalence of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, stress, percutaneous injuries, ears, and eyes are of concern. The dental team should also not forget hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV as risks in practice. Dental practitioners should protect themselves by self-recognizing risk factors and by maintaining proper working conditions. Methods: The study targeted all empirical research, case studies, and systematic literature reviews written in English. All articles selected were subjected to a data analysis process. Data were captured on an Excel spreadsheet and reported in a comprehensive table. Results: The literature addressing occupational health among dental practitioners included mainly cross-sectional studies and review papers (2001-2016). Forty-nine studies were included in the review. Musculoskeletal disorders remain the most researched occupational health-related problems in dentistry. Eye protection compliance was low among practitioners. Percutaneous injuries especially among young dentists and students were still a concern. Conclusion: Occupational health-related problems are still prevalent in current dentistry practice, despite changes in equipment and surgery design. The reported prevalence of occupational related-health problems and other findings of investigative studies highlight the need for continuous professional education and a need to improve clinical practice aspects of dentistry curricula.

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