Paul Engels, Oene Hokwerda, Joseph Wouters, Rolf de Ruijter
Actually the use of a saddle seat seems of increasing popularity as working stool in dental practice and training in dental schools as well. Its advantages in comparison to usual stools are communicated with the suggested comfort of a horse saddle. The critical question is whether these are true. A closer look on the various aspects of sitting on a horse saddle and a dental saddle will give answers. Our analysis shows how a saddle is used on horseback and that the design is meant to enable the horseman or horsewoman to ride. Sitting on a horseback and riding dressage is a very active and dynamic sport, constantly demanding physical adaptation of the bodies of both rider and horse. Practising dentistry should be done in an as dynamic posture as possible also. However, a static working posture cannot be avoided during lasting fine neuro-motor movements of the practitioner during patient treatment. Prolonged use of a saddle chair promotes the unfavourable consequences of this static working posture. Therefore the few advantages of a saddle chair are overshadowed by its disadvantages and these are very likely causing musculoskeletal disorders: Introducing a saddle chair in the dental office is as inviting a Trojan horse to come in.