Author(s): Vinay Kumar Bhardwaj, Kapil Rajiv Sharma, Shailee Fotedar, Pravesh Jhingta, Sanjeev Vaid
Background : No information is available regarding the occupational health problems among dentists working in government institution in Himachal Pradesh, although related studies in other regions suggests that musculoskeletal pain, contact dermatitis and injury from sharp instrument are common. Aim : To collect information from dentists working in the government institutions in Himachal Pradesh concerning common occupational health problems and the precaution they commonly take during their practice. Materials and Methods : Questionnaire survey was conducted on a systematic random sample of 154 dentists amongst the dentists working in government health institutions in Himachal Pradesh. Questionnaires were sent by mail in September 2011.The dentists were asked to complete the questionnaire and return it by mail using the stamped addressed envelope provided. The data was analyzed using the software SPSS version 15 (SPSS Inc., Chicago). The student 't' test and Chi square test were used appropriately. Results : The response rate from the dentists was 81.8%. The most common problem experienced was musculoskeletal pain (65.8%) followed by allergic dermatitis of the hands (8.7%). Nearly all of the respondent dentists wore gloves 100% and face masks 96.8% during work. Very few respondents reported that they had received instructions or training through interactive workshops on occupational health and safety. Conclusions : There seems to be a substantial demand among government dentists in Himachal Pradesh for continuing education on occupational health and safety. More emphasis on this issue to be put into dental training, with more continuing education activities on occupational health and safety to this group of professionals.