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How to keep body physically healthy as a dentist?

I will be starting dental school soon. I wonder how I can best keep my body healthy as this job is physically demanding. I heard complaints about arms, fingers, back, and neck problems all the time. I am not a gym person, so I want to see what people do to keep their bodies healthy and fit as a dentist or dental student. #Spring24

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Vito’s Answer

Correct Ergonomics
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Joy,

Maintaining Physical Health as a Dentist

As a future dentist, it’s essential to prioritize your physical health to prevent common issues like arm, finger, back, and neck problems that are prevalent in the profession. Here are some tips on how to keep your body physically healthy as a dentist:

1. Ergonomic Work Environment: Creating an ergonomic workspace is crucial for preventing musculoskeletal issues. Ensure your dental chair, instruments, and patient positioning promote good posture and reduce strain on your body. Invest in adjustable equipment to customize your workspace according to your needs.

2. Proper Body Mechanics: Practice proper body mechanics while working on patients. This includes maintaining a neutral spine position, using your legs instead of your back when lifting heavy objects, and avoiding awkward postures that can strain your muscles.

3. Stretching Exercises: Incorporate stretching exercises into your daily routine to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension. Focus on stretches that target areas commonly affected by dental work, such as the wrists, shoulders, and neck. Regular stretching can help prevent stiffness and discomfort.

4. Regular Exercise Routine: While you mentioned you are not a gym person, finding alternative forms of exercise that you enjoy is essential for overall physical health. Consider activities like yoga, Pilates, swimming, or even brisk walking as low-impact options to keep your body fit and strong.

5. Healthy Eating Habits: Maintaining a balanced diet rich in nutrients is vital for sustaining energy levels and overall well-being. Ensure you are consuming enough fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support your body’s needs during long hours of work.

6. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is key to staying alert and focused during demanding dental procedures. Keep a water bottle handy throughout the day and aim to drink an adequate amount of water to prevent dehydration.

7. Take Breaks: It’s crucial to take regular breaks during your workday to rest your muscles and prevent overexertion. Use break times to stretch, walk around, or practice relaxation techniques to recharge both mentally and physically.

8. Mindfulness Practices: Incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels associated with the demands of dental school and practice. Stress management is essential for maintaining overall health.

By implementing these strategies into your daily routine, you can proactively care for your physical well-being as a dentist or dental student without necessarily having to engage in traditional gym workouts.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used in Answering this Question:

American Dental Association (ADA): The ADA provides valuable resources on ergonomics in dentistry and offers guidelines for maintaining physical health in the dental profession.

Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic’s expertise in healthcare provides insights into proper body mechanics and exercises that can benefit individuals with physically demanding jobs like dentistry.

Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Health Publishing offers evidence-based information on the importance of stretching exercises, regular physical activity, and healthy lifestyle habits for overall well-being in various professions.

GOD BLESS YOU,
JC.
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Andrey’s Answer

Hey Joy!
One of the most important things is Ergonomics. You can achieve that by buying a really good set of Loupes which will be offered to your in dental school. Look at the new style loupes that offer upright posture.

Here is a good example:
https://www.lumadent.com/ergoprism

I have been a dental hygienist for last 10 years and between good pair of loupes daily stretching, staying physically active, yoga and chiropractor, I have yet to get any issues.

Best of luck and congratulations on your new journey!!!
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Doreen’s Answer

Congratulations! It's truly a rewarding career. I've got over 50 years in the business and I still love what I do everyday. This is a really great question and concern.
Statistics will tell you being a dentist is very taxing on your body. It's super important to start from the beginning with posture. Ergonomics!! They make such great dental provider chairs now that help assist in this area but truly it's really on you as to how you "train" yourself to sit chairside. Sitting up straight, using your mouth mirror or dental loupes is essential to great posture and longevity in this career.
Stretching daily. Core exercises. Some dental procedures can be lengthy, be sure to always get up and move and take note as to how your body feels during those procedures.
I unfortunately didn't do this. I've spent years bending my head and looking in the mouth.. a terrible habit and very hard to break once you do it that way for a long period of time. I definitely have neck issues today. I'm not a dentist but worked chairside for years as a Expanded Function Dental Assistant, filling teeth etc.. and it's taken its toll.
So start in the beginning! Don't allow yourself to "do what's easier ". In the long run, you'll be great. Good luck with your endeavor and congratulations!!
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Megan’s Answer

Great question!

Although I am not a dentist- I am a fan of ergonomics! I am sure in dental school you will learn about ergonomics too and ways to reduce pain and stress on your body.

My tips for keeping your body healthy and reducing pain and stress:
-Stretch! Seems silly and sometimes like you do not have the time but squeeze in small ways to stretch like sticking your arm out in front of you, pointing your hand straight up and pulling back on your fingers to stretch your fingers and wrist.

-Yoga- great for the mind and body. You can find many free videos to follow along with online or at a local yoga studio that doesn't feel like a gym setting.

-Go to the chiropractor. Getting adjusted and getting massages can help keep your body feeling well.

I hope this helps! And congrats on starting dental school!
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shruti’s Answer

Keeping you physical health is of utmost importance for mental clarity and focus in studies. As a professional course requires too much of dedication and hard work, so one should be fit both mentally and physically. Certain ways of keeping oneself fit is
Primarily one should try adopt a routine that helps in circadian rhythm. Next one should devote atleast 15 to 20 minutes for physical activities everyday. Next the most important is diet, I would suggest to incorporate more of dry fruits such as dates, walnuts, almonds in the diet which will help in keeping you energetic throughout the day. Last but not the least Health is Wealth.
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