Delivering Optimum Synergy in Clinic –Top 5 Best Dental Assistant Chair

Introduction to the Dental Assistant Chair

Dentist assistants are a crucial part of the infrastructure of the dental clinic. So, it is to everyone’s benefit to ensure that the dentist assistant’s needs are also met. This is where a high-quality assistant chair comes into play. These stools are not your everyday chairs as it needs to meet certain requirements for it to be considered to be a viable dental assistant chair. Besides the obvious need to be durable and comfortable, a dental assistant chair also needs to meet certain conditions such as adjustability and an ergonomically-focused design. While not exactly as important, you should also consider its aesthetic compatibility with the clinic. The materials used in the construction of the stool must also be considered as this will not only affect its durability but also how easy it is to clean.

There are also a variety of seat shapes available from the standard round to the more modern contoured seat cushions. Another important aspect to consider is the backrest of the stool. As dentist assistants will most likely be sitting throughout the day, a backrest with excellent lumbar support is ideal. As for unique aspects of the dental assistant stools, the inclusion of an armrest and footrest design is another important element to consider.

In this article, we will be giving you pointers, guidelines, and other crucial factors that you need to know regarding the dental assistant chair. We will also be giving you a list of our most recommended vendors and suppliers that offers the best deals in the industry.

Dental Assistant Chair Buying Guide

Many dental manufacturer companies also design dental assistant chairs. Well-known companies such as A-Dec, 3M, Vic Dental, and Dentsply Sirona, to name a few. These are the names that you should look for when it comes to dental equipment as they have built up a trustworthy reputation within the industry. Of course, the brand name is just one cog in the grand mechanism, and we can’t just base our decision based upon that factor. Why? Because each company goes about designing their products in a specific way. Basically, not all dental assistant chair is made equal, and some models might meet your needs better than others.

The chairs are often overlooked in the grand scheme of things regarding the dentist operatory. However, we advise you to avoid this mistake as it can adversely affect your clinic’s operational functionality and overall productivity. The reason for this is that the dentist and their assistant must be able to focus on the task at hand without any distractions. This is where a dental assistant stool comes into play. This type of chair is designed to work harmoniously within the operatory by providing the assistant with excellent comfort and mobility in accessing handpieces and other dental tools. Depending on the type of operation being done, your assistant will greatly appreciate a chair that will not only provide comfort and maneuverability but also promote excellent posture.

Speaking of posture, this is another often overlooked aspect of dental chairs. Since the dental assistant will lean over around the operatory, it is essential to give them some leeway once they sit down on the dental assistant stool. Because of the daily strain on the back, dental assistants do tend to retire early with the main cause being upper and lower back pain. This condition is called musculoskeletal disorder1, and it develops when a person does not sit in a proper position for a prolonged period. This is why getting a dental assistant chair, specifically, is the best route possible as this type of chair can prevent such physical disorders from developing.

At the very core, a dental assistant stool must be designed with comfort as the primary feature. A close second here would be with its maneuverability and ability to support posture. Finally, it needs to come with several chair features such as height adjustability, rotating, armrest, and footrest. All of these factors, when combined, can provide assistants with comfort and allow them to focus on completing their mandate – which is to assist the dentist during operations.

Important Factors to Consider Before Buying a Dental Assistant Chair

To ensure the overall quality that a dental assistant chair can provide, it is best to check whether these chairs meet the standard minimum requirement for the following aspects:

  • Weight Distribution

The backrest and seat should be able to work in tandem smoothly. By this, I mean that these two main components of the chair must be able to complement each other when it comes to equal weight distribution. Basically, a chair design must be able to implement the ability to provide neutral positioning effortlessly. A chair that manages to provide synchronized movement to accommodate the constant shifting of weight will result in a considerably more comfortable experience for the person sitting.

  • Proper Lumbar Support

This is another core aspect that should be considered not only in a dental chair but chairs in general. This feature plays a crucial part in ensuring that the dental assistant will be able to maneuver comfortably during operatory procedures without straining their mid to lower back. As stated earlier, improper or poor lumbar support can lead to degenerative muscular conditions that can force dentists and dental assistants to early retirement. This is why lumbar support in chairs is vital as it will be able to cater to the natural curvature of the spine and prevent undue pressure that can lead to back pain.

  • Contoured Armrest

Having a contoured armrest will also undoubtedly yield better overall comfort. Ideally, the armrest should be at a 60 to 90-degree level and should be built-in to the chair’s overall design to provide absolute stability and support for the assistant. An armrest not only helps provide added comfort, but it also allows the assistant leverage when rotating and positioning themselves around the patient during an operation.

  • Chair Adjustability

Adjustability is the last key in the dental assistant stool puzzle. The ability to re-adjust the chair to your personal preference is mandatory as not everyone is physically built the same. Chair adjustment levers should also be located in easy to access areas of the chair. A sign of good chair design is when the adjusting lever is located in an area wherein operating it won’t obstruct movement.

Choosing the Right Type of Dental Assistant Chair

There are two types of dental assistant chairs available to choose from; these are the traditional chairs and the stool type. Both offer their own strengths, as well as their specific weaknesses. What is important to note is that there is no definite answer as to which between the two types of seats is the better one. There are several vital aspects to consider that revolves on the assistant more than the chair itself. This is why choosing between a stool or chair is completely subjective.

There is also the fact that these types of dental assistant chairs are sold with predetermined standard features, which is based upon the average physical build of an individual. Fortunately, manufacturers to employ several adjustability options to accommodate operators with different body build and height. That said, we highly recommend you consider your body type and height when choosing a dental chair as what may provide one person with the utmost comfort, might not be the same result in your case.

Chairs and Stools – Which One to Choose?

Distinguishing between the two is quite simple, really. The biggest difference would be that a stool does not feature a backrest or armrest in its design and is simply a rotating seat. As such, most of the notable features are focused on the seat itself with some versions utilizing a different design from the typical round seat cushion. We will be discussing the various model types that you will come across within this particular category down below.

  • Seat Tilt Feature and Preventing Lower-Back Pain

The best sitting angle that is thought in schools is with thighs parallel to the floor and your hips at a 90-degree angle. This rule is applied by manufacturers when designing dental chairs for operator and assistant. However, due to the constant twisting and leaning of operators and operator assistants during a procedure, their lumbar curve tends to flatten, which may cause spinal, muscular, and disc problems in the long run. Due to the sudden increase of activity on the lower back, the pain might develop if even your chair is working against you and providing you with an improper sitting position throughout the day. When it comes to dentist and dentist assistant stools, the ideal design would be a seat that positions the hips higher than the knees to deliver an increased hip angle. This helps alleviate lower back muscle and disc pressure.

This is why one of the most recommended chair designs in this category are those that offer a tilted seat feature. For example, a saddle-type stool comes with an adjustable hip angle lever that allows for the seat angle to be adjusted up to 100 degrees. This should help in relieving the stress on your back and prevent lower back pain.

  • Factoring in Height

Height will be one of the bigger factors to consider when getting a dental assistant stool. The reason for this is due to taller individuals being high-risk to lower back pain problems. Height can, and will, be a factor with dentist assistants as they will be required to lean around the patient during the operation. Due to their exceptional height, they will be leaning over further – thus, putting more strain on their lower back in the process. This can also lead to neck and shoulder pain down the line. The good news is that manufacturers do have their fingers on the pulse in regards to these issues. Nowadays, dental assistant stools offer versatility for both tall and short operators.

Tips to Promote Good Posture for Tall Operators

While these tips are devised to help taller operators to maintain a healthy posture, they are generally good sitting guidelines to follow whatever the height. That said, these will greatly benefit individuals whose height surpasses 5’10”.  Remember these exercise tips to help alleviate pressure on your lower back as well as prevent any form of muscle strain during your daily routine in the clinic:

  • Sit upright on the chair while having a slight curve in the lower back.
  • Place your arms on the armrest as you would during an operation.
  • Exhale and pull your navel towards the spine. The abdominal muscles will help in maintaining the curve in your lower back.
  • While holding the abdominal contraction, pivot forward from your hips, using your hips as a fulcrum.
  • Remember to do this exercise daily to keep your muscles limber, and you lower back free of any excessive pressure.

To further maximize this exercise, we recommend the use of a tilted seat or a saddle stool. This type of dental assistant chair will help in facilitating the hip pivot naturally.

Saddle-Style Dental Assistant Stools

The saddle-type stool is becoming quite popular within the field of dentistry due to the posture benefits that it can deliver. As the name implies, the saddle-type stool is quite similar to the horse saddle. Operators will basically sit on it similarly as they would in horse riding. For people unfamiliar with saddle-type stools, the initial response would be something along the lines of a quizzical look. There might even be doubts about the overall comfort that this type of stool can deliver. Rest assured though that it does provide good comfort and excellent posture support compared to the traditional flat seat stool.

How Saddle-Style Stools Help Prevent Lower Back Pain

Saddle-style stools are designed to help maintain a person’s neutral pelvic position. This position optimizes the support that the spine’s natural curves get when sitting down. The saddle-type stool accomplishes this by having the thighs angled at a steep 45-degree angle which leaves the operator in a position that is halfway sitting down and standing up or ‘supported standing’. This position is known to help alleviate pressure on the musculoskeletal system thanks to its highly ergonomic design in comparison with standard stools and chairs. Here are the known benefits offered by a saddle-type stool:

  • Dentists or operators who are short in stature will be able to lower the position of the patient easier if they are on a saddle stool. This help alleviates any pressure on the should and neck muscles.
  • The operator’s diaphragmatic breathing is greatly improved.
  • Sitting on a saddle-type stool makes it incredibly easy to maintain a neutral spinal position.
  • Since the operator is in a ‘supported standing’ position with their thighs angled steeply, it makes getting close to the patient that much easier. This also means that the operator won’t be required to lean over significantly towards the patient during operations.
  • Maneuvering a saddle-type stool is easier as operators will utilize their thigh muscles rather than their smaller calf muscles to move the chair around.
  • Saddle-type stool promotes proper hip movement rather than pivoting from your waist, which puts a certain amount of strain on the lower back.
  • Saddle-type stools are also compact, sleek, and designed with a low-profile, making it suitable in navigating small or confined spaces without much problem.
  • Going from sitting to standing position is also easier as operators are basically at the halfway point of both when sitting on a saddle-type stool.
  • Adjusting this type of stool to focus on the lumbar curve position will help promote proper neutral head posture. By adjusting and flattening the lumbar curve posture, the operator’s head naturally leans forward, which also alleviates straining the neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Sitting on a saddle-type stool naturally activates trunk stabilizing muscles which helps in preventing lower back pain.

There are two styles of saddle stools that are available on the market. There are true saddle and saddle-style. Each type incorporates specific design features to accommodate certain body types and height.

It is also important to note that while saddle stools can help prevent lower back pain, there are cases wherein the benefits of this type of dental assistant chair is completely negated. For example, individuals who have a specific lordosis shape may experience discomfort when sitting on this type of stool. It is also important to learn how to properly adjust the saddle-type stool to fit your body’s preferred posture.

The Top 5 Best Dental Assistant Chairs of 2020

Now, let us take a look at the best-sellers and highest rated dental assistant stools on the market at the moment. We compiled this list by applying the guideline we devised and noted earlier in this article. Each entry in this list checked out all the essentials factor we listed, and then some. If you are currently looking for a reliable dental assistant stool, please check out our most recommended down below.

1. Crown Seating Denver Dental Assistant Saddle Stool

Main Features:

  • Ergonomically angled saddle-style seat
  • Closed-cell injection molded foam cushioning
  • Standard vinyl upholstery
  • Dual-lever adjustment
  • Ratcheting arm design

We start this list with a saddle-style stool as this relatively new type of dental assistant chair is highly recommended thanks to its enhanced lower back support and excellent comfort. The slanted seat of the Crown Seating Denver Dental Assistant Stool is implemented so that the pressure buildup on the lower back area of the operator can be avoided. This dental assistant stool also features multi-angle positioning gives operators excellent balance while the contoured shape of the seat improves overall mobility without causing undue pressure on the waist. This dental assistant stool offers excellent adjustability, which is the icing on the proverbial cake. That said, expect to shell out some extra cash as this particular model is quite expensive.

2. TPC Mirage Assistant Stool Model AS-1101

Main Features:

  • Equipped with gas cylinder lift seat height adjustment
  • Standard vinyl upholstery
  • Spring-equipped lower backrest
  • Adjustable full ring footrest
  • Adjustable anatomical body support bar

TPC provides a veritable selection of assistant and operatory stools in general with their Mirage series collection. What we liked about the TPC Mirage AS-1101 model is its impeccable stability and balance thanks to its five-leg base design. The Mirage AS-1101 also provides excellent adjustability options to accommodate a wide variety of body types and height. You can also rest easy with the caster wheels as it moves smoothly whether your clinic is carpeted or tiled. The TPC Mirage AS-110a does have a rather bulky aesthetic, so we recommend this one for clinics with extra elbow room.

3. Vic Dental Dentist Stool VIC-147

Main Features:

  • Five-leg base design with wheels
  • Contoured backrest and seat
  • Simple adjustable gas cylinder for seat height
  • Adjustable backrest

Vic Dental is one of the fastest rising dental supplier and manufacturer in Asia, and its products are all highly rated in the market. Vic Dental also offers a wide variety of dental equipment from robust and modern dental chairs to handpieces, accessories, and other essential tools in dentistry. Think of Vic Dental as a “one-stop-shop” for those in the field of dentistry. Vic Dental currently has five dentist/operator chairs and stools available. All models from the VIC dentist chair series features a traditional design and robust build. The seats and backrest also employ an ergonomic design to provide ample support for the operator’s lower back and posture, in general.

4. Galaxy Model 2025-R Assistant’s Stool

Main Features:

  • Three-point contoured backrest design
  • Special cutout seat to promote blood flow throughout the lower extremities
  • Made from high-resilience foam
  • Four-way adjustment design
  • Equipped with foot ring and body support armrest

Focusing on a more ergonomic design, the Galaxy 2025 adds additional functionalities not present in previous iterations of this dental assistant chair. For one, it now incorporates a three-point contoured backrest to provide comfort and adequate posture support. You will also notice how the seat features a cutout design on the front. This simple design tweak helps promote better blood flow through the legs, which can prevent muscle fatigue and other issues caused by sitting down for prolonged periods. It also features a highly resilient foam which is firm and comfortable. This dental assistant chair also provides excellent flexibility thanks to its highly adjustable build. Please note that you need to request for the ratcheting mechanism as it does not come with the product by default.

5. Crown Seating Virtu Dental Assistant Stool with Backrest

Main Features:

Patented ZenWave motion technology that alleviates undue pressure on the lower back

Convex shaped Free-Float backrest design

Three-lever adjustment feature

Breathable mesh fabric cover for both seat and backrest

One of the most robust in this list is most certainly Crown Seating’s Virtu C120AM Assistant Stool. The build and features incorporated into this dental assistant chair are without reproach as it appears that Crown Seating spared no expense to provide one of the most well-rounded products in this category. Of course, this also meant that the Virtu C120AM would have a high price tag, which it does. All in all, this is worth the investment based on the comfort and support that it provides to the operator.

Conclusion

Dental assistant chairs or stools are essential in a dental clinic setting. The dentist and assistant must be able to work in tandem and as smoothly as possible to provide the best service for the patient. This also means that the operator’s assistant must be comfortable while having a full range of motion and avoiding any strain on their body. A high-quality dental assistant chair, like the ones we listed above, are the best solutions to this particular issue.