According to IBIS World, as of 2022, there were over 1.1 million people working in the dental field across the United States. If you work as a dental professional, you know that a career in dentistry holds promise and potential, with dental professionals playing an important role in people’s overall health.
However, like any profession, dentistry also poses risks of injuries at work, and it is important to know what to watch for to keep yourself safe at work.
A considerable part of your job as a dental professional involves long hours in a stationary position. This can cause strain to the neck, back and shoulders, leading to musculoskeletal disorders. Ergonomics plays a significant role in preventing these injuries. Use chairs that provide good support and keep instruments within easy reach to reduce strain.
The dental profession involves close-up work, which can result in eye injuries. This includes exposure to harmful chemicals, infectious materials and flying debris. Wearing protective eyewear is essential to prevent such injuries.
Percutaneous injuries, or injuries caused by needles and other sharp objects, are common in dental practices. These can expose you to bloodborne pathogens, leading to diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. It is essential to handle sharp objects with care and dispose of them safely after use.
As a dental professional, you are at risk of exposure to infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, influenza and COVID-19. It is vital to maintain good hygiene practices, use personal protective equipment and get vaccinated to protect against these infections.
Dental professionals can experience high levels of stress, leading to psychological injuries such as burnout, depression and anxiety. Ensuring a healthy work-life balance, taking regular breaks and seeking professional help when needed can help manage stress levels.
The constant exposure to the high-pitched noise of dental drills can lead to hearing damage. Using noise-canceling headphones or earplugs can protect your hearing.
With adequate safety measures, the right equipment and mindfulness, you can significantly reduce your risks for on-the-job injuries. Remember, your health and safety are as important as the excellent care you provide to your patients.