In 2021 anyone can say they’re a “coach or consultant” …and they do! Dental Ergonomics is finally a hot topic so be on the lookout for what a legitimate Ergonomic ‘Consultant” looks like.
Here’s why: Ergonomics in dentistry is about how the body moves in relation to the work environment and demand of the duties therein. It takes more than an Instagram page and a website to be a consultant.
“I say I am, therefore I am” doesn’t apply here.
I’ve known PhD’s that couldn’t find their way out of a common sense lined paper bag, so education isn’t everything. BUT there is a minimum level of education required. A CEAS – Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist certification WITH some sort of degree/certification related to bio-mechanics (Physical Therapy, Personal Training, Kinesiology, etc). Without both, it’s no different than me building my business online and calling myself a Marketer. Have I marketed for myself? Yes. Does that make me a qualified marketer that people should pay to market their business? Absolutely not.
Next, chairside experience. Unless they’ve personally battled the lip, cheek or tongue while successfully prepping a crown with beautiful sealed margins on #18 or removed tenacious calculus from an 8mm pocket on the distal buccal of #15 without direct vision on a patient that “can’t lay back”, they CANNOT have a true understanding of what we go through. At that point it’s theory and no, “my sister is a hygienist and I’ve watched her a lot” doesn’t count. You want someone who has been in the trenches and has lived your struggles.
Experience. Not just in the mouth, but with bio-mechanics. They need to have a thorough and practical application of the way the body works both in proper function AND in dysfunction to know how to fix other people’s bio-mechanical issues. They needs to have seen/experienced what it means to achieve symmetry in the body, felt (first hand) the results of body manipulation through their chosen modality so they can effectively describe and teach it to others. They need to understand joint actions and the kinetic chains that create neutral posture and how that is undone by dentistry.
Availability. In-person assessments are significantly higher quality due to the nature of being in the room of the person being assessed. Feeling the actual space, seeing things from all angles, being able to physically move an arm, etc. There is so much more to be observed in-person than through a screen. While virtual makes assessments more accessible – especially for global friends, it is limited in what can be seen and therefore in results. Is it better than nothing at all? Sure, if the person is experienced they can still provide a lot of help. I’d compare it to a PE teacher trying to teach table tennis through zoom. It can be done but shouldn’t be first choice. If they’re really pushing virtual instead of in-person assessments… that may be a sign.
If I’m buying the only ergo assessment I’m probably ever going to buy in my career, I want the coach standing right next to me, able to see EVERYTHING, to give me the most value for what I’m paying for (unless I live on top of a mountain that requires 4 plane stops, 2 trains and a helicopter to get them to me).
Testimony. Proven correction of pain relief for dental professionals. Ideas, education and enthusiasm are great, but have you successfully driven that boat before? We all have to start at the bottom and crawl before we walk. Dentists give away a lot of dentistry before they successfully pull off $50k cases. It’s called paying dues. I’ve done more free ergo assessments than I can count so that I could hone my skills. My first assessments don’t hold a candle to what I can do now for people but I am glad I did the ground work because I’ve got testimony for days of the people I’ve helped. Make sure there are people who will vouch for the results of whomever you hire because results are what you’re paying for (both immediate and long term).
Now you know what a qualified and quality Dental Ergonomics Specialist looks like (besides me!) and confidently purchase an assessment to help reduce your workplace pain today!