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Frequently Asked Questions: Basic Information
Course Content: Narrative

Ergonomics in Instrumentation to Manage Occupational Pain Including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Course Content

The course begins with a morning slide, video, and audio lecture that covers:

  • A survey of the registrants, by questionnaire, focusing on occupational pain
  • A brief review of the literature dealing with occupational pain
  • A look at how ergonomic factors in the operatory impact the hygienist
  • Factors helpful in Fatigue Reduction:
    • Instrument Design and Selection
    • Bio-mechanics/Posture (the Neutral Position of the Body)
    • The Biocentric Instrumentation Technique
  • Factors helpful in Time Control:
    • Instrument Sharpening
    • Sequencing of Instruments
    • Probing

Philosophically, the Biocentric Technique is based on dealing with the three basic causes of occupational pain in hygienists, i.e., extrinsically, a negative ergonomic work place, and intrinsically, violating neutral body positions and exhausting vital muscle groups.

The core of the program involves ergonomic planning; Instrument design, selection, and sharpening; and the instrumentation technique.

A practical guide, the Power Wheel (that helps to integrate this very complex motor skill at the chair) can be posted in the hygienist's operatory for ready reference.

Implementation Protocol gives the hygienist Monday morning support to assist in explaining the ergonomic needs inherent in clinical practice. Results of a study of patterns of muscle activity help in understanding the complexities of instrumentation and what causes as well as helps correct occupational pain. Results of a survey of alumni of the course between 1991 and 1995 establishes the impact of the Biocentric Technique on pain, production and attitude of hygienists

The afternoon hands-on session includes one-on-one instruction at the chair, on a mannequin, by Dr. Meador, or by a facilitator, trained by Dr. Meador. Instructions cover instrument sharpening, and the components of the Biocentric Technique. This is when it happens. All the esoteric ergonomic and orthopaedic principles crystallize into a very practical instrumentation technique.

The ideal schedule includes eight hygienists divided into two sessions of two hours, with four hygienists per session. The group that is not with Dr. Meador can watch the videotape, which is a big help either as a review or preview. If time is needed for more than eight hygienists, additional sessions can be scheduled.

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