Why Handpiece Ergonomics Matter
Modern handpieces are designed to optimise performance with new innovative features regularly brought to market.
Though functionality is key to clinical efficiency, it is essential to not underestimate the importance of workplace comfort, health and safety.
When deciding on the best handpieces for you or your dental team, it is important to consider how the handpiece will feel in your hands and what impact using it for long periods of time could be having on fatigue and health.
Why is handpiece ergonomics important?
Ergonomics can be defined as ‘designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely’.
Failure to do this in the dental practice can result in musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as upper back pain, lower back pain and, in the case of handpieces, hand and wrist problems.
Factors that can cause hand and wrist injuries include the following:
- Abnormal and awkward positioning of the wrist.
- Constant extension and flexing of the fingers.
- Working too long without rest.
- Forceful work and extended use of vibratory instruments, such as handpieces.
MSDs were the most common cause of premature retirement for NHS staff, a 2010 study found.
So, what is it about certain handpiece designs that might be contributing to this?
Well, design elements that can be detrimental to ergonomics include heavy weight, small diameter, inadequate grip and excessive vibration.
Choosing handpieces designed according to the principles of ergonomics is key to improving comfort, preventing work-related MSDs and potentially decreasing the chances of premature retirement.
How to find ergonomic handpieces
The best and most ergonomic handpieces will be designed in the completely opposite way to that described above.
Dentist-friendly handpieces should be lightweight and perfectly balanced to make it more suitable for using for extended periods of time without causing strain.
In theory, the lighter the contra angle, straight handpiece or turbine, the more comfortable it should feel in your hands.
Another positive factor can be grip. Some handpieces come with a special grip or coating that is specifically designed to improve comfort and control.
One example of this is the BA Ultimate handpiece, which comes with a solid titanium body that is lighter than stainless steel.
The BA Ultimate also comes with a smart coating to make for a more natural grip without excessive force being exerted on the fingers and thumb.
Other benefits of the BA Ultimate Handpiece range include:
- Suitable for washer disinfectors and autoclaves for easier and quicker sterilisation.
- Quadruple spray to optimise cooling efficiency and minimise pulp injury (BA250LT)
- Built-in fibre optic lighting to illuminate the cutting surface and assist with vision.
- Affordable pricing.
- BA offers a free postage paid repair pack that can be used to safely send handpieces off for repair.
Where can I buy ergonomic BA Ultimate handpieces?
BA Ultimate handpieces are available to buy online at Kent Express, with free next working day delivery available on all online orders.
All handpieces in the Ultimate range are currently buy 2, get 1 free. Shop the full range at the link below.