Friday, February 21, 2014

Dentistry is a Sedentary Profession

In dental school, I was instructed to sit for all procedures with the exception of oral surgery (ie. pulling teeth).  I was promised that this would save me from numerous health problems (stemming from back pain).  This positioning translates to hundreds upon thousands of working-hours spent sitting on my butt while I render dental care.  

Popular Science recently ran an online article entitled “7 Ways Sitting Will Kill You.”  Those seven ways are:  Chronic Disease, Reduced Life Expectancy, Kidney Disease, Poor Mental Health, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, Death from Colorectal Cancer, Death (Just Death!).  

A couple of years ago, I started to transition to standing while delivering treatment.  Guess what?  With proper angulation of the hand-mirror and careful chair adjustment (ensuring the patient’s comfort), neither my assistant nor I have suffered any crippling back issues or musculoskeletal problems at all!  Of course, I am only providing anecdotal evidence of how I have been able to implement this technique.  However, I find it comical that the only branch of dentistry where I ever find myself physically tired or strained, is oral surgery (where standing was recommended!), and even then, it is a rare occurrence.  

If you're a dentist, work in the dental field, or work any kind of desk-job where you're sitting most of the day, take a look at the article to read about the dangers of sitting all day long! 

I have been experimenting with getting my feet moving while I have some down-time if a patient reschedules, or while I am writing chart notes.  More on this topic in a future update!