[SPONSORED] Combining equipment and ergonomics to enhance the patient experience

Having the right equipment – and knowing how to use it – is crucial.

Whether assessing existing operatories or designing a standardized blueprint for a new dental practice, there are a few key factors dental professionals should consider to help ensure an effective dental space. Creating a successful practice is not only about having the right equipment; it’s also about knowing how to use it in the right way.  

Having the right type of equipment within the clinical environment can increase the level of comfort and safety and enhance the delivery of care. Necessary equipment for all operatories includes the overhead lighting and patient chair, which are both vital instruments used in every patient visit. By gaining a better understanding of this equipment, dental professionals will uncover opportunities to improve efficiency and, ultimately, patient care.  

Factors to help ensure an effective dental space that is conducive to the delivery of high-quality care include the following.

Operatory lighting

Overhead lighting plays a major role in ensuring quality dentistry. It is important to have overhead lighting in the operatory that provides both the dentist and assistant with an even distribution of light in the oral cavity to help eliminate shadows, match shades, identify details and diagnose tissue. Proper lighting provides the clinician with not only better visibility into the oral cavity, but also helps reduce eye strain on the part of the clinician. Eye strain may lead to reduced productivity and other eye issues later in the clinician's career.

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Many of today’s dental lights, such as the Midmark Dental LED Operatory Light, feature high-powered LEDs that remain safe and cool to the touch as compared to halogen lights. With its advanced design, the Midmark Light provides the ultimate experience with less heat generation and a longer lifespan. Color temperature on halogen lights tend to vary when adjusting the intensity, while LEDs hold a consistent color temperature.

Patient chair

Patient comfort is one of the most important factors in creating an ideal patient experience. The chair is where a patient will spend most – if not all – of his or her time during an appointment. No matter how long a patient spends reclined, chairs must be designed to offer premium support and comfort. Dental chair designs have significantly improved in recent years, focusing on the comfort level of patients, dentists and clinicians.

The ideal chair for any dental practice looking to enhance the level of care is one that is designed to synchronize, or move with the human body, and reduce patient anxiety. For instance, Midmark’s Elevance® Dental Chair eliminates the need for the patient to readjust by offering a sculpted backrest to accurately position the patient’s neck and integrated armrests to support the patient’s upper body. It even features a built-in heat and massage system to further relax the patient during the exam.

In order to ensure comfort for the clinician, there are two important elements that need to be considered: the ergonomic positioning of the operator and the positioning of the patient in relation to the operator.

When choosing a chair, ensure there is enough access under the chair to work comfortably, in normal operating positions. The design of the chair back is also key to proper clinician positioning and patient access. Rotating the chair allows further flexibility to help ensure the clinician has good visibility in the 11 and 12 o'clock positions while still maintaining access to cabinets and instruments. Newer chairs have electronic rotation systems that make it easy to rotate the chair instead of having to struggle with the older manual rotation release levers.

Considering the amount of hours clinicians spend working within the patient’s oral cavity, design of the dental chair should expand the range of travel in order to maintain optimal access. For example, the Elevance® Dental Chair features a unique Cantilever Forward® design, allowing for unsurpassed range of travel and greater flexibility whether seated or standing. The chair’s seat height can be lowered to 15 inches and extended to 34 inches, allowing clinicians to easily bring the patient to the desired height needed for a proper exam. Optimal access is also crucial for maintaining an ergonomically correct working posture and maximizing performance, thus reducing the strain on the backs, shoulders, arms and wrists of the practitioner.

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Midmark Dental Products

With the help of Midmark’s integrated portfolio of market-leading dental equipment, dental professionals can combine the right equipment with the appropriate ergonomic principles to further enhance the patient experience. Dentists who can improve the overall effectiveness of their operatories will be in a better position to deliver efficient, high-quality patient care.

Published: April 18, 2017