Title Dental Students’ Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) in Their Clinical Environment
Clinical Question Do dental students experience MSD symptoms in their clinical environment?
Clinical Bottom Line Dental students do experience MSD symptoms in their clinical environment.
Best Evidence  
PubMed ID Author / Year Patient Group Study type
(level of evidence)
18357542 Thornton/2008590 2nd, 3rd and 4th year dental students from four dental schools - Maryland, Howard, Pennsylvania and Temple Universities.Questionnaire Survey- Nordic
Key resultsThis study investigated the clinical tasks that place students at physical risk and the relationship between the tasks and musculoskeletal symptoms. 61% 358/590 reported that during the past year they experienced musculoskeletal symptoms related to work at their dental school -second year (n=212) third year (n=201) and fourth year (n=177). Of those students,the neck represented 48%, shoulder 31%, back 44% and hands 20% (p <0.001). Third year students reported the highest occurrence of symptoms in every body area (p <0.001). Third and fourth year students reported significant relationships between the occurrence of symptoms and equipment utilization, work efficiency and general health. A statistically significant difference in discomfort (p<0.007) was found among two different age groups. A total of 78% of the students who experienced discomfort were less than 29 years of age and 22% of the students with discomfort were equal to or greater than 29 years of age. A statistically significant difference (p<0.004) was found when students experiencing discomfort were asked to rate the work station layout in terms of work efficiency. Of the students experiencing discomfort, 62% rated work efficiency fair/poor and only 16% excellent/good. The results of this study confirm the existence of musculoskeletal symptoms in the dental student population.
19433537 de CarvalhoMV/2009227 dental students from two Brazilian dental schools Analytical Cross-Section
Key resultsA self-reporting questionnaire was used to obtain data. Results were analyzed using The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 13.0. The chi-square test was used for calculating the level of significance. The presence of pain during or after clinical work was reported by 173 participants (76.2%). Pain was present during clinical activities (p=0.006) and imposed limitations on the work routine (p=0.011). Among those who practiced physical exercise, 74.6% reported pain.
Evidence Search PubMed search: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Dental Students and Clinical Work Environment.
Comments on
The Evidence
These studies represent a full spectrum of dental students and their clinical work responsibilities. The criteria for the testing were explicit and credible. The diagnostic work-up was comprehensive and consistently applied. There were no follow up studies. There were no apparent competing interest of the authors.
Applicability The participants were representative of typical dental students. The incorporation of an ergonomic course in the dental school curricula is feasible. Dental schools have an obligation to educate students ergonomically to help prevent future MSDs that can cause career ending disabilities.
Specialty (Endodontics) (General Dentistry) (Oral Surgery) (Orthodontics) (Pediatric Dentistry) (Periodontics) (Prosthodontics) (Restorative Dentistry) (Behavioral Science)
Keywords Musculoskeletal Disorders and Dental Students.
ID# 2485
Date of submission 05/13/2013
E-mail ronald.brown@ucdenver.edu
Author Ronald N. Brown, DDS
Co-author(s) e-mail
Faculty mentor
Faculty mentor e-mail
Basic Science Rationale
(Mechanisms that may account for and/or explain the clinical question, i.e. is the answer to the clinical question consistent with basic biological, physical and/or behavioral science principles, laws and research?)
None available
Comments and Evidence-Based Updates on the CAT
None available