Work Environment of Dental Hygienists

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Objective:We sought to evaluate how musculoskeletal disorders and workplace psychosocial factors affect dental hygienists’ work hours and productivity.Methods:We mailed a survey to dental hygienists in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California.Results:Musculoskeletal pain caused 27% of hygienists to decrease work hours and 8.7% to change office locations. Hand/wrist pain caused the most missed workdays. Conversely, conflicts with the dentist caused 28.2% of dental hygienists to change jobs and 12.7% to decrease work hours. Conflicts with staff caused 17.1% to change office locations but only 7.0% to decrease work hours. This pattern was confirmed with multiple logistic regression analyses.Conclusions:Musculoskeletal and psychosocial factors affect dental hygienists differently: musculoskeletal discomfort is more likely to cause dental hygienists to decrease their working hours, whereas professional and social conflicts are more likely to lead to change in work location.

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