Upper extremity altered sensations in dental hygienists

Terry L. Stentz, Michael W. Riley, Staton D. Harn, Richard C. Sposato, John W. Stockstill, Jennifer A. Harn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Dental hygienists are subjected to occupational health risks such as infection, eye strain, ionizing radiation exposure, hearing loss, toxic substance exposure, and musculoskeletal trauma. A 27-question voluntary survey was administered to all registered dental hygienists in the State of Nebraska (N = 460). The survey was designed to gather work practice and physical stress information, and to help assess the general prevalence of upper extremity neuropathies among dental hygienists. A 56.5% (260 of 460) response rate was obtained. A simple descriptive, non-inferential analysis of the data revealed that 159 respondents (61.0% of the response sample) indicated that they had experienced upper extremity "altered sensations" related to the physical stress of dental hygiene practice. The most frequently reported "altered sensations" were "pain", "tingling", and "numbness". Sixteen percent of the response sample (42 of 260) indicated that they had already been medically diagnosed as having an upper extremity neuropathy. More than 90% of those dental hygienists with a history of upper extremity "altered sensations" indicated that the sensations were first noticed after entering professional practice; on the average of 5.8 years since beginning their work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • Dental hygiene
  • Neuropathies
  • Pain
  • Prevalence
  • Upper extremities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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