ABSTRACT: The presented study compared the performance of left-handed dental students on a common task. The left-handed students worked from either the right or left side of the different patients. Forty-two voluntary students from dentistry faculty were included in this study. Right- and left-handed dental students were directed to right-handed chairs to remove dental plaque and calculus in 42 voluntary patients having nearly similar amounts of plaque and calculus. Another group including left-handed dentists using chairs set up for left-handed operation for comparison to the performance of the left-handed dentists in right-sided chairs was also comprised. At the beginning, plaque and calculus index scores measured using Plaque index (PI) and calculus index (CI) by an experienced colleague. To evaluate the post-treatment, the same procedures were used. The obtained results from each student's treatment were evaluated. A statistically significant difference was found between outcomes of the patients treated by the left-handed dental students and the patients treated by the right-handed dental students for PI and remaining calculus index scores (p<0.001). The mean CI was found to be lowest (best performance) in left-handers working on a left-sided dental chair. The left-handers with the right-sided chair were found to be not as good as those on the left-sided chair.Relevance to industryRight-sided dental chairs are commonly used in dental practice. However, it cannot be stated that all the practitioners are right-handers. Although there is no report in the literature about the decreased performance of left-handed practitioner on right-sided dental chairs, it can not be denied that the overall average performance of left-handed practitioners could be improved by providing the opportunity to work from the left side of the patient.
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics.