Turbine effect on dental students' lateral pinch modulation and performances

D. Lugassy*, M. Khalaily, A. Shely, Y. Levanon, S. Portnoy, T. Brosh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dental turbines can generate significant vibrations that may be transmitted to dentists' hands. The vibrations contribute to neural impairment and decrease dexterity over the long duration. It is unclear whether such vibration effects would be detected in the short time during the pre-clinical year of dentistry study. Aims: To investigate the effect of vibrations on lateral pinch modulation and manual performance of dentistry students. Methods: Four lateral pinch modulation tests by a square-shaped force sensing resistor (FSR) were administered to 30 dental students during their phantom course. Tests were performed with dominant and non-dominant hands at two time points: T0 (2 months after commencing phantom training) and T1 (end of phantom training). At each time point, students accomplished two manual performance tests on plastic teeth. Comparisons were made between lateral pinch modulation test scores at different times, considering the differences between hands and gender. The relationships between the FSR tests and manual performance were also determined. Results: The participating 19 female and 11 male students had a combined 50% response rate. At T1, the lateral pinch modulation for all tests significantly decreased for the dominant hand (P < 0.05) and non-dominant hand (P < 0.05). For the non-dominant hand at T1, the lateral pinch modulation of females significantly decreased as compared to males (P < 0.05). No significant correlations were found between lateral pinch modulation and manual tasks at T0 and T1. Conclusions: The lateral pinch modulation of the fingers of dental students deteriorated after only 8 months of training at phantom (short-time exposure), with females at higher risk and possibly earlier symptoms manifestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-316
Number of pages8
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023


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