This article was originally written in 2022 and updated in 2023 for current best-in-industry offerings.
Successful dental practices are successful small businesses, and often successful dentists have to make as many business decisions as they do about patient care. Practices have to balance cost and practicality with wanting the best of everything, especially dental supplies. So while there are seemingly endless invisible choices (bookkeeping, staffing, training) that go into a productive office, you can’t go wrong investing in dental office equipment and advancements in dentistry that can both increase staff productivity and attract more patients.
Choosing quality over price for the following common dental tools and equipment can go a long way toward helping you to build an efficient, high-functioning environment for your staff while also aligning your practice’s brand with innovation and organization.
Common dental practice equipment for which it pays to get the best
Dental supplies and equipment are expensive, but we believe cost shouldn’t get in the way of enjoying the benefits of digital dentistry. That’s why we give dental practices a free digital dental scanner when they join Dandy.
Still, paying a little extra for some pieces of equipment is unavoidable. We believe the following examples are worth the investment.
1. Dental chairs
Patient comfort is key. Improve the patient experience by improving the first thing many people notice when they enter a dental exam room: the chair they’ll be sitting in.
A chair’s design and style will tell patients a lot about your practice. Giving people an ergonomic seat, with comfortable padding and moveable armrests can do a lot of work putting patients at ease, and newer and more modern designs can also convey a cutting-edge aesthetic that will tell patients: this is a cutting-edge practice.
Choosing the right dental chair can also make work easier for dentists, hygienists, and assistants. Modern chairs have programmable positions that allow dentists to make quick adjustments using foot switches and touchpads.
If you think your chairs are on their last legs, patients can probably also tell. And if they’re starting to get worn out or stained, or if they don’t maneuver easily, consider an upgrade.
2. Dental cabinets
Your operatory cabinetry layout and office design have a big impact on workflow efficiency. You and your dental assistants need to know where all dental instruments are stored and be able to access them quickly. This will ensure seamless dental procedures.
Nobody likes waiting, and patients are quick to notice confusion or disorganization, so give thought to your layout and invest in cabinetry that is durable and long-lasting. When your dental materials and instruments are where you expect and need them to be, patients will similarly pick up on harmony and cohesion you’ve created. Building this trust with the patient can even produce better care results.
Don’t skimp on your sterilization equipment. There are many processes that practice employees must follow to ensure patient safety — perhaps none more important than sterilization. The three most common types of sterilizers are autoclaves, dry heat sterilizers, and unsaturated chemical vapor sterilizers.
Because dental offices often don’t have a lot of space for equipment, there are many excellent tabletop sterilizers that will help with infection control and don’t take up too much real estate.
Investing in a faster sterilizer can also make your practice run more efficiently — some sterilizers even offer USB and network ports for remote monitoring. When staff have to spend less time at the sterilizer and can spend more time interfacing with patients, everyone wins.
4. Operatory lights
Every dental office is different, but every office needs quality operatory lights. Whether you’re attaching to the wall, ceiling, cabinet, or delivery system, poor lighting can impact the accuracy and success of diagnosis and treatment. You can focus on a few variables in your operatory lights to make sure you’re getting the most value out of this important expense.
Adjustability is important. It’s a good idea to invest in a light that can be easily adjusted by the dentist or dental assistant while the doctor is working. Make sure that the light you choose works with your delivery system and cabinetry, and that it is compatible with your preferred work methods.
Visibility is the most critical aspect of effective diagnosis and treatment, so know what you need and don’t settle for inadequate lighting.
5. Intraoral scanner
Stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing market with an intraoral scanner. These devices take three-dimensional scans of a patient’s teeth and gums, creating precise images that allow for greater accuracy when it comes to restorative dental procedures like crowns, bridges, and implants. And your practice can get an intraoral scanner for free when you partner with Dandy—that’s a lot of pennies.
They provide superior imaging capabilities compared to conventional scanning methods, allowing for faster diagnoses and treatments. By using this new dental technology, clinics can offer a quick, painless, no-gag alternative to dental impressions and other traditional methods.
Finding the best dental practice equipment
Furnishing a top-tier dental office is a major investment, so you should also make sure your new equipment comes with a warranty. And while your options will always vary based on the amount and type of space you have (as well as your budget) making sure your office equipment works together seamlessly will always pay dividends.
From a comfy dental chair to a less-distracted staff, better equipment helps build an improved patient experience, which can even lead to better treatment results. When your staff is more efficient, and more comfortable, your patients will notice, and you and your practice can generate the ultimate goal: more smiles.