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