You’re on your way to the office for another day of seeing dental patients when you swing by the drive-thru of your favorite coffee spot for a latte. You get to the window, greet your favorite barista, and as your hand closes around the cup it happens. OUCH! Shooting pain in your thumb followed by feelings of numbness and tingling. Suddenly the busy day you were looking forward to becomes a day destined to be filled with pain and discomfort.
If this sounds familiar, you might have a case of “surgeon’s hands,” a condition related to the repetitive hand motions required to perform dentistry. It is bothersome, painful, and potentially career-ending if not addressed and treated. Dental Hygienists and Assistants can also experience the same symptoms. The good news is there are several things you can do to help prevent the symptoms from starting or alleviate them if they’re already present.
Natural Motion. Increased Comfort.
It all stars with exam gloves. And that makes sense, since you wear them on your hands all day, every day. If you’re currently wearing ambidextrous gloves, pull one out of the box and really look at it. Are your fingers all straight up and down? Does your thumb constantly stand at attention? Of course not. That’s why ambidextrous gloves are fine for quick on/off use, but not for long procedures and even longer days. You need something that allows your hands to curve and move the way nature intended – and that’s where Left/Right Fitted gloves enter the picture.
Originally designed for use by surgeons, Left/Right Fitted Gloves are proving to be key to helping ensure the health of dental professionals’ hands, too. That’s because they allow you to hold your hands in a more natural, relaxed position and allow the thumb to move more freely, eliminating the resistance and pulling that is often at the root of hand fatigue and pain.
As soon as you slip on Left/Right Fitted Gloves, you’ll notice an immediate difference in how your hands feel, as well as the quality of movement handed gloves allow. Fine, delicate pinching motions will be much easier and more precise, and we all know how important acute tactile sensitivity is when performing dentistry.
Find Your Fitted Gloves
Whether the office prefers latex, nitrile or polyvinyl, powdered or powder free, there are fitted gloves available in those materials. One of the most popular brands of handed gloves is LeSoothe from SmartPractice. These unique gloves up the comfort quotient by featuring the moisture-balancing benefits of both Nopal and Aloe Vera in the emulsion with the antioxidant properties of Vitamin E. It’s like a mini spa for your hands!
Another popular choice – designed especially for dentistry by SmartPractice – is QualiTouch Nitrile. These gloves have thermo-responsive properties allow the
m to relax and mold to the natural contours of your hand for a custom fit that feels like a second skin. And because there are no natural rubber latex proteins, they’re ideal for individuals or offices that have NRL sensitivity issues.
No matter which material you choose, you’re sure to see a positive impact on the health and comfort of your hands when you make the switch to fitted gloves.
In addition to switching to fitted gloves, these other easy, ergonomic adjustments
can help with hand fatigue and pain:
- Consider shortening the work day
- Schedule patients so that long, difficult procedures aren’t back-to-back
- Keep all tools and dental supplies within easy reach
- Take time to adjust the patient’s chair when working in different quadrants
When placing your next dental supplies order, make the switch to Left/Right Fitted Gloves, or call SmartPractice at 800.522.0800 and ask for a free sample pack, then give them to everyone in the office to try.
How do you address issues of hand fatigue and pain in your office? Have you made the switch to Left/Right Fitted Gloves and felt the difference for yourself? Please tell us about your experiences in the comments