DOI: 10.3390/dj11120272 ISSN: 2304-6767

A Novel Ergonomic Curette Design Reduces Dental Prophylaxis-Induced Muscle Work and Fatigue

Kairong Lin, Cherie Wink, Ben Dolan, Kathryn Osann, Ali A. Habib, Jill Gehrig, Petra Wilder-Smith
  • General Dentistry

Background: To compare fatigue, comfort, and muscle work associated with the use of two periodontal curettes during scaling: one with a novel adaptive design, the other with a conventional non-adaptive design. Methods: Twelve hygienists scaled a typodont using two Universal Barnhart 5/6 curettes: (1) a prototype featuring an adaptive silicone-covered handle (Curette A), and (2) a stainless-steel curette (Curette B). Surface Electromyography (sEMG) traced muscle work. Hand positions, fatigue, comfort, pinch, and grasp strength were recorded. Paired t-tests and a repeated measures ANOVA with covariates were tested for differences. The significance level was set at p < 0.05. Results: Curette A performed significantly better in all categories. Pinch and grasp strength and fatigue were significantly reduced post-instrumentation for Curette B. Curette A required significantly less (i) total muscle work and (ii) work in individual muscles. Comfort, correct grasp, and blade adaptation were significantly better using Curette A. Conclusions: A curette featuring a novel adaptive handle design demonstrated significantly improved ergonomic performance. Additional clinical studies are needed to solidify our understanding of the potential short- and long-term benefits of the novel curette handle design. Practical Implications: A novel adaptive curette handle design that enables the clinician to adapt the instrument across the index finger may reduce musculoskeletal burden and fatigue, as well as improve comfort during periodontal instrumentation.

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