A Brief History
Dental Chairs are the heartbeat of all dental practices and this section will briefly look at how they have changed over time.
History would suggest that an American dentist, Josiah Flagg, created the first adjustable chair in the late 18th century, adapting a wooden chair by adding an instrument tray on one side, as well as a movable headrest. Over the years this equipment has evolved and, perhaps most excitingly, in the 20th century, the first-ever treatment unit came into being, incorporating air, water, gas, and electricity into one handy piece of equipment.
At this point, while patients were sitting more comfortably than ever before, for the most part, dentists were still standing – and their backs and necks were not thanking them for it. By 1958, however, John Naughton had created a chair with an articulated seat and back, which marked the introduction of what we now call four-handed dentistry.
Today, we have fully embraced the use of a chair that is comfortable for both patient and user and incorporates some incredible benefits that reflect issues such as need, convenience, infection control requirements, and environmental considerations. Sometimes, however, the extensive choice and brands available can feel overwhelming.
What we Consider
Before making the leap and purchasing a dental chair, our team here at Hague recommend that you consider four main factors. Of course, there are numerous things to take into account, more of which will be discussed later on, but these four will help you narrow down your choice more than any others.
- The Dentist - Your Work and Your Health
First and foremost, the dentist. Given that the dentist will be the person spending the most time treating patients in the chair, it is essential they work comfortably and that the shape and size of the chair compliments their work style. For example, if the back of the chair is thin it allows dentists more legroom, which will allow them to effectively have the patient's head on their lap, making treatment easier and relieving a lot of stress on the back, helping to prevent common postural issues that are notorious in the dental industry. Newer models such as the A-dec 500 dental chair have a thin ‘sting-ray’ shaped backrest which offers this kind of solution.
- The Team - Their Work and Their Health
Secondly, the surgery team. The chair needs to coincide well with the surgery team so that the nurse for example can assist the dentist comfortably without the need to lean over the patient or move around the room. This is where ambidextrous chair options come in incredibly handy, as the delivery system can be shifted left to right, creating space for members of the surgery team to help treat patients.
The third important factor to consider before buying a chair is physical space within the surgery. Dental chairs come in a range of sizes, so it is crucial to evaluate the space your surgery allows before you make such a big commitment to buy a chair that doesn’t match the shape and size of your practice.
Of course, with larger, more spacious surgeries this will allow almost any chair, but for the smaller ones it might be worth considering alternative options such as knee-breaks. Belmont provide versatile models such as the Belmont Cleo Dental Chair and Belmont Eurus Dental Chair, both available in knee-break form. These also make it easier for patients upon entry of the chair, especially elderly patients. By investing in a kneebreak, this near enough halves the starting position of the chair and as a result creates far more surrounding space. This space can then be utilised by the surgery team and the patient, or just generally improve the overall look, feel and aesthetics of the room, so it doesn’t give a ‘cramped’ look.
Physical space is also a very important factor to take into consideration as ambidextrous chairs may not work in smaller surgeries, hence why it is so important to evaluate your space before making the investment. We have an in-house Computer Aided Design department who will be able to map out your surgeries using blueprint dimensions, thereby informing you of all models that would fit and further helping you decide which option is best for you.
Last but not least, and arguably the largest and most influential factor is the price of the product. The type of chair you are after will be highly dependent on your budget. However, at Hague Dental Supplies we are proud to supply only the most reliable, high-quality manufacturer equipment, so regardless of the budget you can trust that we will help you find a viable, effective treatment centre designed to last long term, ensuring you make a life-changing investment. Even with more limited budgets, we supply brilliant chairs that are simply built to last and that our manufacturer-certified engineers are experienced in looking after, so whatever price tag you're looking for you can guarantee a reliable, high-quality model that will help take your practice to the next level.
Whilst the above considerations are our primary focus, it's also worth mentioning:
Any well-designed treatment unit should offer integration to effortlessly accommodate today's technologies and new ones as they evolve in the future. Avoid cluttered worktops through built-in solutions to seamlessly ensure all you need is at your fingertips and avoid you taking your eye off the oral cavity. This may include electric motors that communicate with the touchpad for endodontics, an intraoral camera, caries detection devices, ultrasonic instruments, and curing lights.
All modern dental chairs, as complex as they can appear, are ease to maintain, however it does require that you and your team run regular daily and weekly routines. It is worth noting that some are more expensive to maintain and service than others. Ensure you have a team of manufacturer-trained engineers for not only the installation but that have the knowledge to service and maintain this expensive piece of equipment and ensure its longevity.
Please ensure you check the weight limit of any treatment unit you are looking to purchase. These vary enormously and not paying attention to this could provide you with a hefty repair bill or even see you in a position where the chair is beyond repair.
The stability of the dental chair is very important, depending on the delivery system you are planning on installing. The stability of the chair is obviously irrelevant if a wall or cabinet mounted delivery system is in place, whereas if you are looking for a chair mounted delivery system then stability must be considered. Fortunately, we only supply reliable, robust and stabilised treatment centres from renowned manufacturers so this will not be an issue if purchasing from us.
- Comfort for today's longer treatments
If you’re not happy or comfortable with the feel and mobility of your chair, then your patients won’t be either right? Retaining repeat customers is key in the world of dentistry and improving the level of patient comfort during treatment is at the front of this in terms of importance. Before making such an investment, it is important to test and try, and our Hague Dental showroom gives you the perfect opportunity to do so.
- Ease of Positioning Chair
The positioning of the dental chair is also vital for patient comfort, specifically the headrest. The correct headrest position will not only improve patient ergonomics and prevent any form of injury, but it will also make it easier for the dentist to treat them at the proper angle, thereby making it easier for the dentist too. With the variation in shape and size between each patient, it is important the dentist or the surgery team know how to adjust the position of the chair to the new patient’s demand. Therefore, as this will need to be frequently changed, it is best to know how to correctly position your dental chair, hence why finding a suitable option that is easy to operate is recommended. Fortunately, the majority of modern dental chairs are fitted with hand-free, foot-operated controls which allows the dentist to re-position the chair during treatment without having to use their hands. Small innovations such as this has helped with efficiency and has considerably reduced the amount of time patients spend in the surgery room, meaning dentists can see more patients on a daily basis which is obviously beneficial for the practice.
If your dental chair is not working, then you’re not working. This is the reality of running your own practice, and a problem dentists around the world want to avoid. Fortunately, we provide high quality treatment centres from some of the industry’s most reliable manufacturers; we only supply chairs that were built to last. We aim to reduce your downtime, and in the event that your chair isn’t working correctly, we have highly accredited dental engineers available to sort such an issue. When looking to invest in a dental chair, it is important to consider models that will require minimal maintenance and service. Prestige brands such as A-dec and Belmont provide this sort of quality, therefore you won’t have to worry about this.