Dental chair and its evolution in improving the patient experience

A dental chair is one of the most essential equipment found in a dental clinic. A Dental Chair is specially designed medical equipment meant to support a patient’s body when a dental procedure is being performed on them. The electrically operational chair comes with a water line, micromotor, compressed air and is retractable as per the dentist’s requirements during a procedure. The equipment comes with a stool where the dentist sits while working on the patient.

But what we see now in our clinics, is far removed from what the earlier dental chairs looked like. Let’s revisit the history of dental chairs and understand how they have evolved over the years.


1790 - The first dental chair

Around 1790, an American dentist named Dr. Josiah Flagg invented the first dental chair. The first dental chair featured an adjustable headrest and an attached arm extension for convenient access to dental equipment. This was basically a modified Windsor writing chair for use in his practice; a plain wooden chair with a padded headrest with a tray for equipment on the side.


Advancements of the 1800s
The 1800s saw many additions being made to the first dental chair. While the first reclining dental chair was invented in 1832 by London dentist James Snell, in 1867 Dr. James Beall designed and created the first patented wooden dental chair by adding a footrest to the chair and gave it the ability to recline slightly. Then, in 1871, a popular dental company called SS White Dental, invented a completely metal chair that doctors could adjust using a crank.

In 1877, Basil Manly Wilkerson conceived the first dental chair of hydraulic nature, which allowed for a better position of the patient's back during treatment and improved the working conditions for the dentist.


20th Century Revolution

A great change came in when Ritter Dental designed a chair with air pressure, a spittoon, and an x-ray device. A monumental step in the evolution of dental chairs, the seat was equipped with a spittoon to help the patient expel saliva during treatment and it also came with an X-ray device.

Almost two decades later, a well-known dentist, Dr. Naughton made a chair with a back that doctors could adjust to a prone position. This has long been called the birth of the modern dental chair.


Modern Dental Chairs

Dental manufacturers have made modifications to the design of the dental chair since then but Dr. Naughton’s general design is still the prototype, even today. These small changes include modern-day automation and more up-to-date materials. A bulk of modern dental chairs are “smart” dental chairs. “Smart” implies that they are usually fully adjustable, are on a pedestal, and have an engine that generates power for other compartments of the chair. These chairs are usually made of plastic, metal, or a combination of both.

Smart dental chairs are also generally antimicrobial, which helps prevent the spread of germs between different patients and dental clinicians. Modern smart dental chairs include suction tubes for evacuating saliva, pneumatic tubes to generate power for surgical equipment, handpieces for drilling, and a screen to showcase the patient’s mouth.

Dental patients spend about 90% of their time in the dental chair during a visit to the dentist. Therefore, the quality of the dental chair has quite a lot of importance in shaping the patient experience.

Studies show that patients can experience a 40% reduction in spinal pressure when the dentist decreases the chair’s angle by just 20 degrees. Hence, dentists need to be careful when choosing dental chairs for their establishments. Fully adjustable chairs that offer plenty of comfort for the patient are the kind of chairs dental establishments should prioritise. Confident Dental Chairs are one of the most well-known modern dental chair brands and they are easily available online.

If you are looking to buy the most modern and smart dental chairs at the best price, you can explore the largest collection of dental products on Medikabazaar, India’s largest online B2B aggregator for medical supplies to purchase dental equipment online.

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