Measuring the Effects of a Posture Shirt on Ergonomic Positioning at the Dental Chair

Research Article

J Dent & Oral Disord. 2018; 4(3): 1093.

Measuring the Effects of a Posture Shirt on Ergonomic Positioning at the Dental Chair

Cohen DE*, Adkins B and Walker MP

Clinical Restorative Sciences, UMKC School of Dentistry, USA

*Corresponding author: David E. Cohen, Clinical Restorative Sciences, UMKC School of Dentistry, USA

Received: February 19, 2018; Accepted: March 08, 2018; Published: March 22, 2018


There are numerous studies verifying the correlation between poor posture and musculosketal disorders in dentistry (MSDs). The purpose of this study was to determine the short-term effects of wearing an elastomeric garment (Posture Shirt®; AlignMed, USA) and clinician posture. The scope is specific to the back, shoulders, head and neck. Methods and Materials: six subjects were videotaped performing an identical restorative procedure wearing a fitted tee shirt and subsequently one week later in a posture shirt after wearing the posture shirt during the previous week. Their posture wear time during the week was logged. The video data initially and after wearing the posture shirt was analyzed with portions of Branson’s Posture Assessment Instrument (BPAI). Results: Benefits were not significant when evaluating all planes of movement (transverse, frontal and sagittal). One of the six subjects improved from harmful to acceptable (16.6%). In the sagittal plane only, four of the six subjects improved from compromised to acceptable (66.6%). Conclusion: It is hoped this research will inform the dental practitioner of an option that may improve their back to front posture for trunk, shoulders, head and neck when performing dental treatment.

Keywords: Ergonomics; BPAI; Dentistry; MSD


There have been few studies on the effects of posture shirt wear with positive ergonomics and musculoskeletal pain relief. The Influence of a Dynamic Elastic Garment on Musculoskeletal and Respiratory Wellness in Computer Use by Decker, Gomas, Narvy and Vangsness [1] is the only published literature that touches on the subject. There have been no studies on posture shirt effectiveness in the dental field to date.

The most prevalent regions for pain in dentists have been shown to be the back (36.3– 60.1%) and neck (19.8–85%) [2,3]. Several studies have indicated that back, neck as well as shoulder pain as major problems among dentists. Finsen et al. (1997) [4] reported 65%; and Chowanadisai et al. (2000) [5] reported 78%.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a major cause of early retirement among dentists [6].

*Musculoskeletal disorders (29.5%)

*Cardiovascular disease (21.2%)

*Neurotic symptoms (16.5%)

*Tumors (7.6%)

*Diseases of the nervous system (6.1%).

Dentistry requires strong endurance of the shoulder girdle stabilizing muscles for strength and range of arm motion. The middle and lower trapezius muscles supply the majority of this support. However, they tend to fatigue quickly when the clinician works with their head in a forward position and have a rounded upper back. When these muscles tire, the upper trapezius, scapula and upper rhomboids must then compensate and become overworked and tight, resulting in a decreased blood supply and oxygenation to these tissues (Figure 1).