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Blast from the Past - Don’t Take That Dental Chair for Granted!


Imagine your patient sitting on the floor during a tooth extraction while you hold their head firmly between your knees. That’s what they did before the 17th century, according to the University of the Pacific’s Virtual Dental Museum

Luckily, improvements in the comfort and versatility of the dental chair have been made over the last 300 years, vastly improving the experience for both the patient and the dentist.  From the University of the Pacific’s Virtual Dental Museum, here’s a brief history of how the dental patient chair transformed into what it is today.


In America in the early 1800s, a rocker with a properly placed log acted as a mechanical dental chair.


People realized the benefits of a more supportive yet flexible seat, and, in the mid-1800s, dental manufacturers introduced ornate chairs with varying degrees of headrest, footrest, back, and seat adjustability.


After the Civil War ended in 1865, metal replaced wooden chairs, partly to stop the spread of disease, and SS White pioneered the all-metal dental chair, which remained popular for almost 100 years.


In 1958, the reclining chair was invented by John Naughton, and it allowed the dentist to sit during procedures while the patient lay in a prone position. Due to its more flexible seat design, Naughton’s recliner was accepted as the standard by the dental profession.


Today’s dental chair maximizes patient comfort while allowing the dentist to adjust position for optimal access to the oral cavity. For example, Planmeca's Compact i Touch dental unit offers comfort for the patient and efficiency for the dentist. Click here for more details on this system.

Want ultimate comfort for your patients? Check out the Crescent Bodyrest System, a Dental Product Shopper Recommended Product that was evaluated in 2014.



Photo compliments of University of the Pacific’s Virtual Dental Museum. 


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