What should you know when buying a dental chair?

Buying dental equipment is a big decision. With so many options, it's important to take a deep dive into a product's reliability, reputation and longevity—among other things.

Buying dental equipment is a big decision. With so many options, it's important to take a deep dive into a product's reliability, reputation and longevity—among other things. But no matter the brand or manufacturer, there are some proven, basic attributes that ensure that a dental chair can withstand the daily rigors of dentistry, maximize access to the patient, and provide comfort for both the dental team and the patient. So, what should you look for when comparing patient dental chairs? Here are the top three (of fourteen) checkpoints.

1. How stable is the chair?
Stability requirements will vary, depending on what type of equipment you use. Chair-mounted delivery systems require a much more stable chair than cabinet or wall-mounted systems. Still, a chair must deliver stability as you access the oral cavity. Here’s a practical test of stability on a chair with a chair-mounted delivery system and light, which is sitting on an even and level floor: with a person in the supine position, run the chair to its maximum height. Grasp the top of the light post and attempt to rock the chair side-to-side. The patient seating area should not rock or sway, but should remain basically rigid. The baseplate shouldn’t rock at all. “Tippy” chairs may not be capable of delivering a stable oral cavity. The chair baseplate is an important factor in stability. It should have a large footprint, yet be configured so it won’t interfere with stool casters. Cast iron is rigid and provides more strength than aluminum, with a thinner profile. It also transfers less sound and vibration to the patient if it is hit or bumped.

2. Does the chair baseplate resist dents, scratches, and corrosion?
The baseplate is constantly under assault from cleaning chemicals and equipment. The finish should not be simply painted, as it will chip or scratch easily. To keep it looking clean and new, a permanent finish process such as epoxy or electrolytic bonding is ideal. The baseplate should be finished on all sides, so floor coverings won’t be damaged by rust or corrosion.

3. How do the chairs move?
The chair’s initial and final movements play a big role in patient comfort and experience. Sit in the chair. Move it up and down to determine whether there is an initial jarring movement at the start or stop. The chair should eliminate jarring movements and provide a smooth ride for the patient from start to finish. Be sure to ask who manufactures the hydraulic cylinders: an important part of the chair.

Check List
Try these tests next time you're in a dealer showroom or at a dental tradeshow:

  •  Touch each piece of equipment to get a feel for how well it’s made.
  •  Move the armrest. Adjust the headrest.
  •  Sit down beside and behind the chair. Is it easy to position yourself close to the chair in each working position?
  •  Recline in the chair to determine the comfort.
  • Check the motion. Is it bumpy or smooth?
  •  Notice if the equipment feels sturdy.
  •  Check that all parts fit well together.
  •  Ask for the chair’s tested lifting capacity.
  •  Test the functionality of the delivery system, chair, and all components. Just as you would when buying a car, take it for a test drive.me too

Choose with confidence.
There is so much more to consider. For more pointers about dental chairs and other equipment, get your complimentary guide, “What to Look for When Buying Dental Equipment” at a-dec.com/guide. Choose with confidence and make sure you end up with the right dental equipment for you.