Buying a new dental chair is a big decision! A big deal both financially and clinically.
One that you don’t make very often, but the impact of making the right choice will have a positive outcome on you, your colleagues and your patients.
It’s the hub of your dental treatment room, the focus of your patients’ visits and can make all the difference between a stress-free patient experience and a bad day at the office for you.
So, we thought we’d put together one of our ‘Top Tips’ guides to help you navigate the minefield of options out there, so you can make the right choice for you and your workflows, whatever your speciality.
Read on to learn our 10 top tips of choosing the right dental chair for you.
Top Tip # 1: Ergonomics
A lot has been spoken about the importance of the correct chair set up for dentists to be able to undertake clinical procedures in a safe and ergonomic way, whether you’re working in a standing or seated position.
And rightly so.
A chair must have a number of positioning features for both the patient and the dentist to ensure the dentist has unimpeded and open access to the oral cavity. This, of course, is even more critical for longer procedures such as endodontics and implantology.
Sliding tracks enable the whole chair to be located in an optimal position longitudinally, the ability to set the chair to the correct height means the patient is laying at the optimal level for the dentist’s physique and preferred working stance and newer features, such as a double articulating headrest, mean the patient’s head can be tipped and tilted in order to present the maximum treatment area possible to the clinician, whilst maintaining comfort for the patient.
The foot control should also be mentioned here. A correctly positioned foot control will alleviate bending and stretching to control hand pieces, with all parameters adjusted using the dentist’s foot.
Top Tip # 2: Patient Comfort
Along with making sure the chair works for you, the dentist, considerations around patient comfort are right up there in terms of key considerations when making your chair choice. A comfortable patient is a more relaxed patient who will move less, particularly during longer procedures.
A chair with smooth movement will be less worrying for a nervous patient – no jolts or jumpy mechanics to cause anxiety.
Some chairs offer additional comfort features, such as lumbar massage, arm rests and heated seats for an enhanced patient experience.
There’s a PR element to consider here too. There’s mileage in that word of mouth discussion between patients about how comfy the dental chair was during their last visit!
Top Tip # 3: Ease of use
You want your chair to be simple to set up and easy to use, so you can concentrate on the job in hand.
If more than one clinician uses the surgery, it may well be worthwhile considering a chair which can have a number of user profiles programmed on it, so you and your colleagues can easily select your preferred working parameters at the touch of a button, saving you time and hassle at that busy part of the day as you’re about to start a clinic.
Other features, such as a touch screen control for both patient positioning and instrument set up, a foot control for controlling handpieces during procedures and double articulating headrests all add significant benefits to ease of use.
Make sure you see a unit before you commit to buying, interact with the user interface and make sure it’s intuitive and easy to use. Position the chair, move the light, the dental unit and assistant’s unit around and get a general feel for how the chair operates in situ with its surrounding components.
Which leads nicely on to…
Top Tip # 4: Configuration
There are several basic configurations to consider when choosing your chair, as well as a number of additional options which integrate other kit onto the chair.
Is your surgery used for other dentists who may be a mix of left and right handed? If so, consider an ambidextrous configuration, whether the dental unit can easily switch sides to accommodate the clinicians preference. Do you prefer an over the patient style of unit and what hand pieces do you routinely need? You’ll need to choose which hand pieces you’ll need – turbines? Contra-angles? and also an air-gun and scaler option.
Most chairs will now offer the option of an integrated light. More often than not an LED option, which can be mounted directly on the chair, so no need for additional electrical connections or fixings to the ceiling or an adjacent wall.
The advent of digital dentistry has also brought integrations of additional options like chair mounted intra oral X-ray units and monitors, which further reduce the space and utilities needed if these elements are installed independently.
And it’s highly likely that you’ll want to include a spittoon or cuspidor directly connected to the chair’s waste outlet too!
Top Tip # 5: Reliability
Every course of treatment involves the dental chair, so having a reliable piece of kit is of the utmost importance. It’s the workhorse at the centre of your clinical interaction with the patient; a faulty or malfunctioning chair is at best an irritating inconvenience and at worst a major disruption resulting in cancelled patient lists and lost revenue.
So, take the time to do some research here. Talk to your peers, read industry reviews. Make sure you select a high build quality chair which, with regular planned maintenance and routine care, will maximise uptime and mitigate the hassle around a breakdown.
Making sure your chair remains in tip top working order throughout its operational life leads us nicely onto our next tip…
Top Tip # 6: Dental Equipment Supplies Partner
There are many dental equipment suppliers out there who can supply you with your new dental chair.
But a word of caution here…buying your chair is only the first step.
What you really need is a dental equipment partner. Someone who can provide everything you need and has your best interest at heart. People who not only know their stuff when it comes to choosing the chair in the first place, but can advise you on everything throughout the lifetime of your chair. From gaining access to the surgery for installation, training you and any of your colleagues who will also use the chair, to regular preventative maintenance, upkeep and even on-going upgrades and updates, which will extend its longevity and maximise uptime.
And here at Blueprint Dental, we’re pretty confident we can be that partner. With approaching 20 years of experience, we have the technical expertise to help you make the right choice for you, matched with an unsurpassed reputation for service with some of the finest, most experienced engineers in the UK.
”"With all of the Blueprint engineers, they're very lateral thinking. They will look at the problem from the client's perspective. Blueprint are very genuine about the way they conduct themselves."Dr Amit KotechaPrincipal, Care Dental
Top Tip # 7: Space/Accessibility
Space (or lack of!) is often a real limiting factor in the design of your surgery and choice of dental chair. The chair needs to be easily accessible to the patient entering the treatment room, offering safe, easy entrance and egress.
In some instances a knee-break chair could be a valuable choice, freeing up space in the folded position whilst the patient enters the room and also offering a potentially easier option for elderly patients or those with restricted mobility.
Top Tip # 8: Hygiene
The impact of the global pandemic has elevated our patients’ awareness of hygiene in clinical settings. Whilst, as dental professionals, we have always had a clear understanding of the importance of infection prevention, the ability to effectively decontaminate and remove any bio-burden from the dental chair must not be underestimated.
A chair requires effective contamination prevention routines both internally and externally to maintain patient safety.
Internal water lines present a potential hazard with the build up of biofilm, if not regularly decontaminated. For this reason a chair with an automated flushing function is highly recommended.
Externally, the upholstery should be easily wiped down between patients to leave a clean chair environment for the next patient.
The design of the dentist and assistant’s units also play a part, with easily wiped down touch screen interfaces helping to further minimise the risk of cross-contamination. Even the use of a foot control has positive ramifications on infection control, with the ability to control hand piece parameters reducing the need for the dentist to touch anything other than dental instruments during a procedure.
But it’s not only biological hygiene which needs to be considered. Steps need to be taken to ensure the delivery of air to the patient is clean and oil-free, as well, having passed through any relevant filters.
Top Tip # 9: Aesthetics
As well as meeting all your functional requirements, we know that you also want your chair to look good in your clinical setting. First impressions really do count and the patient will experience emotions based on what they see from the second they walk through the door. Clearly as a clinician you want those feelings to be positive and to put the patient’s mind at ease.
There are many colour schemes and colour combinations to choose from. Bright & vibrant, calm & soothing, contemporary or more traditional. But whatever your choice, it needs to fit into the look and feel of the treatment room and complement your interior design and the overall branding of your business and entire practice or even practices.
There are a whole range of upholstery options available right through to plush ultra high quality options with toned stitching and embroidery for a top of the range superior look and feel for the most exclusive dental settings.
Top Tip # 10: Budget/Financing
A wide ranging price band exists when you’re talking about dental chairs. You’ll hear talk of real low end deals right through to top of the range, super specification whole treatment centres with a plethora of options.
Our advice is to define your budget range, but absolutely ensure that you are getting a quality product from a quality brand via a quality dental equipment supplier, who can provide you with the on-going support you need.
At Blueprint Dental, we can help you choose the best option for your budget, always guaranteeing quality and a top notch customer experience. That’s what we do.
And for those who prefer to spread the cost of their chair purchase, which, incidentally, also offers a number of favourable tax advantages, we have collaborated with the team at Vector Finance, who have an extensive knowledge of dental finance schemes and will work with you to tailor the best financial option over your preferred payback period.
So whether it’s your first single chair purchase, the replacement of an old faithful friend, a complete practice refurbishment or new build, your chair choice and its configuration are of paramount importance to your dental operations moving forwards.
You need a quality, reliable chair with the right ergonomic set up for you, a high level of comfort for your patients, with a specification to meet all the procedures you perform, within the budget you’ve set.
And that’s where we come in. It’s what we do day in, day out and our surgery specialists will help you make sure that those choices are right for you now and in the future.
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Alternatively you can contact our surgery expert, Will Cunningham, direct on 07947 932814 or email email@example.com