Outfitting a new operatory or upgrading an existing one can take a lot of dental equipment. You do not want to overlook anything for your operatory and later find yourself without the preventative or surgical dental equipment you need. This buyer's guide can help dentists and office managers set up an operatory, so you have everything you need to care for your patients in a professional clinical environment.
Time for Reflection
Before you order anything, think about what works in the operatories you have or have used. What do you like about your current chair, cabinetry or setup? Where do you see room for improvement? Ask your staff members to share their feedback with you — it never hurts to get a perspective from other people who work in the space.
Needs and Wants
Setting up an operatory is a delicate balance between your needs and the needs of your patients. Beyond considering what will work in your office, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. Any equipment you buy should aid in workflow and provide comfort and confidence to patients, but it should not put you in an unreasonable amount of debt.
Top-of-the-line dental chairs may have all the bells and whistles, like top-tier upholstery, massage features for patient comfort and more maneuverability for dentist comfort, but each will come at a cost. Decide which features you need to have and which are less important to you.
The Bare Minimum
Think about the layout of your operatory space. How much room do you have to work with and what fixtures are on your must-have list? Dentists looking to save money and streamline their process may not mind forgoing cabinetry in favor of rolling carts or using portable X-ray units instead of wall-mounts.
The focal point of any operatory is the patient dental chair. It should have adjustable armrests, an ergonomic design for comfort and a touchpad or foot pedal controls for your team to position it easily. You may want all your dental chairs to be the same color or style for a professional look. Even if you buy refurbished chairs, you may be able to customize them to coordinate with your other chairs.
Other essential fixtures include a dental delivery system with extra handpieces, operatory lighting, a sink for patient and staff use and stools for dentists, hygienists and assistants. With the rise of digital X-ray technology, you may want a computer in each operatory or laptops with monitors on rolling carts for a portable way to check patient histories, update visit records and view X-ray images.
Essential Operatory Dental Equipment and Options
Patient Chairs (Arms or Not, Fixed or Hydraulic Base, Traverse, Plush or Aseptic Upholstery)
Delivery Systems (Radius, Over the Patient, Continental, Rear Wall/Cabinet Mount)
Assistant's Systems (Rear Radius, Mobile Cart, Cabinet Mount)
Dental Handpieces (Slow/High Speed, Pneumatic or Electric, Fiberoptics)
Operatory Lights (Radius, Post Mount, Ceiling or Cabinet Mount)
Autoclave (Capacity, Manual, Automatic…)
Ultrasonic Cleaner (Above or Below Cabinet Mount)
Vacuum Pump (# of Users, Wet or Dry)
Dental Compressor (Oiled or Oiless, # of Users, Quiet or Loud)
Digital Sensor (Small,Medium,Large or Phosphor Plates)
Handheld X-ray (Wall or Pass Thru Cabinet Mount, Long or Short Arm)
Digital Panoramic X-ray (Ceph, Cone Beam, Base or Wall Mount, Bitewings, TMJ)
Practice Mgmt Software (Cloud or Local Server, Imaging Capability, Digital Hardware Compatible)
Operatory Design Consultation
With a busy or growing dental practice, you may not have time to dedicate to outfitting or upgrading your operatories. DuraPro Health eliminates the stress of purchasing dental practice equipment. In addition to our selection of new and refurbished dental equipment, we also offer consultation and design services to help you set up an operatory space that meets your needs and budget.