Evaluation of Ergonomics and Efficacy of Instruments in Dentistry

Nina Nevala1, 2, *, Erja Sormunen1, 2, Jouko Remes1, Kimmo Suomalainen3
1 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland
2 University of Jyväskylä, Gerontology Research Centre and Department of Health Sciences, Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland
3 Institute of Dentistry, P.O. Box 41, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 1114
Abstract HTML Views: 1953
PDF Downloads: 290
Total Views/Downloads: 3357
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 509
Abstract HTML Views: 1050
PDF Downloads: 217
Total Views/Downloads: 1776

Nevala et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Ergonomics and Usability, Topeliuksenkatu 41 a A, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland; Tel: +358 40 7344166, +358 40 7344166; E-mail:



To evaluate the ergonomics and efficacy of five instruments used in dentistry for scaling and root planing.


This experimental study with a comparative cross-sectional design was carried out during a simulated scaling and root planing task. Seven female dentists and one dental hygienist aged 26–58 years participated. Five instruments were evaluated in a subjective analysis of usability and musculoskeletal strain and with measurements of muscular activity, postures of the upper limbs, and work productivity.


The instruments with the thickest (diameter of 12–14 mm) silicon handles caused the lowest perceived strain in both the fingers/palm and the thumb. Work productivity was also the best with the thickest silicon handles. Between the instruments, no statistically significant differences were found for the muscular activity of the four muscle groups studied or for the postures of the wrist and upper arm.


The design and material of dental instruments can affect perceived comfort and work productivity. In scaling and root planing tasks, instruments with thick silicon handles are more usable, cause lower perceived strain, and are more productive than those with thinner handles. The results of this study can be used to aid dental instruments development and selection.

Keywords: Dentistry, efficacy, ergonomics, hand instrument, hand tool, productivity, usability.