Medicina dentária e saúde ocupacional em Portugal: estudo exploratório

Translated title of the contribution: Dental medicine and occupational health in portugal: exploratory study

M. Santos, C. Lopes, T. Oliveira, A. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Introduction / framework / objectives According to the consulted bibliography, the main risk/ risk factors of dental professionals are the eventual contact with biological agents, maintained/ forced postures, repetitive movements, vibrations, noise; electromagnetic radiation and Rx ionizing radiation, visual efford and chemical agents. Despite the risks being well identified, no studies were found in Portugal that explored the professionals’ awareness of the risks, their behavior regarding the use of personal protective equipment, the description of occupational accidents, the existence of occupational disease or the recourse to the occupational health team. This exploratory study was designed to identify possible occupational health needs that are not described, which may be subject to intervention. Methodology This is an observational, descriptive and cross-sectional study, carried out through an anonymous questionnaire, answered by electronic means. The sample was obtained for convenience after contacting several institutions related to the sector. Each professional contacted had the possibility to respond only once using the link provided. Results The sample consists of only 33 workers. The vast majority are female, with higher education completed, practicing dentistry and with more than 10 years of accumulated professional experience. The most valued risk/ risk factors were maintained/ forced postures, repetitive movements, noise, biological agents, prolonged shifts and stress. The most cited/ valued chemical agent was hypochlorite. The most used protective equipment was the uniform, mask and gloves and the least used was ear protectors, visors and caps. Only few had an accident at work and the most frequent were cutting and contact with fluids capable of transmitting infectious pathologies; however, 82% denied post-accident work limitations. The most referenced pathologies were hernias, bursitis and tendinitis, attributed to work activity, but none was declared as a suspected occupational disease. It was very common to have symptoms associated with work, especially pain in different body areas. The perception of the use of Occupational Health services is lower than that recommended and required by law. Conclusions The study cannot be considered representative of this professional sector since the small sample size does not allow the generalization of the findings, nor does it provide information that allows inferring cause-and-effect relationships. However, reading the results allowed to identify some potentially problematic areas in terms of awareness of occupational risks, use of personal protective equipment, monitoring of symptoms and use of Occupational Health services. Expression/ Keywords: dental medicine, dentist, dental assistant; occupational health, worker health, and occupational medicine.
Translated title of the contributionDental medicine and occupational health in portugal: exploratory study
Original languagePortuguese
Number of pages15
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Saúde Ocupacional
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020


  • Dental medicine
  • Dentist
  • Dental assistant
  • Occupational health
  • Worker health
  • Occupational medicine


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