7 Important Features and Components That Will Affect Dental Chair Cost


As a licensed dentist, one of the essential foundations in a dental clinic is the dental chair. It is fascinating to see how much dental equipment has evolved throughout the years. From being a specialized yet straightforward chair for the patient to a highly advanced chair that incorporates everything from LED lights, automatic adjustments, exceptional back support for the patient, and designed to optimize dentist maneuverability and positioning.

In this article, we will be discussing critical factors about the dental chair from new technology to the price range. This is so that we can get a clearer vision of the total dental chair cost and help dentists in planning out their finances for opening their clinic. Let us go on an in-depth journey into all the factors that comprise the total value of a complete dental chair set.

Dental Chairs – Main Features that Affect Total Cost

1. Design

Before deciding on which dental chair to purchase, note that this essential dental equipment has evolved quite a bit from the days of being a simple adjustable chair. After numerous iterations, modern dental chairs have become entirely different dental equipment. New versions of the dental chair offer a modified experience for both patient and dentist.

As one would expect, the more advanced the dental chair – the more expensive it will be. For those who are trying to budget their finances, understanding what features are essential will help narrow down the options for your dental chair.

The dental chair’s design will be a huge proponent to its overall comfort. It is essential for a dental chair to be as comfortable to the patient as possible. It goes without saying that most will find the notion of going to the dentist to be quite an anxiety-ridden ordeal. There’s nothing wrong with that; it is what it is. However, one can help alleviate the patient’s anxiety by having them lied down on a considerably relaxing dental chair.

2. Construction

A quality dental chair will also provide the dentist with more maneuverability to different angles. This is essential in order to facilitate the dental procedure being done. An ergonomically designed dental chair is a highly recommended choice.

Padding will also be a vital element of the dental chair. Quality padding will help improve the comfort levels of the patient. Remember that the patient’s comfort will be critical in delivering the best possible results during dental procedures.

Another essential feature of a dental chair is its adaptability to the patient’s height. The best chairs in the industry should offer smooth transitioning and high adjustability to adapt to whatever position is needed to accomplish the procedure in a relaxed manner.

Checking the dental chair’s full capability in terms of adjustment should be among your top concerns. A flexible dental chair will be able to provide the best in terms of functionality. Of course, with more moving joints, you can expect that to factor in with the overall dental chair cost.

3. Material

It is also crucial for a dental chair to offer top-notch longevity. On average, a dental chair should be able to offer up to a decade and up of service until being retired or upgraded. A low-cost dental chair may save you cash initially but might require repairs more often than a high-grade dental chair. The overall cost might accumulate over time, which could very well exceed the price of a high-end chair in the long run.

Among the most significant element that determines the dental chair’s quality is with its material. Do not go for dental chairs with low-quality materials for parts. Again, as this is long-term equipment it is best to invest as much as you can afford to guarantee that the chair will be able to withstand years of daily use without any hitch. A dental chair made from cheap materials is not expected to last long.

Dental Chair Features and Performance – Making a Smart Investment

When it comes to dental chairs, its functionality will be the primary deciding factor on whether to purchase a particular model or not. The design, material, and construction are just the first layer of factors that will affect its price. The features that the dental chair comes with will take up the lion’s share of its total cost.

To streamline this section, we will be splitting up the features into three major categories:

  • General Components
  • Main Functionalities
  • Accessories

4. General Components

  • Main Dental Chair Parts

The chair dimension will be one of the first factors to be noticed when looking at dental chairs. When it comes to this particular aspect of the chair, it is best to consider not only the dentist and patient ergonomics but also how the chair will fit into the clinic’s interior layout. That factor is something one cannot afford to make errors in.

The backrest is another component that must be carefully examined. It is best for a backrest to offer proper back support to the patient without being too large that it will become a hindrance in regards to the dentist’s maneuverability during operation.

Having a backrest that is too wide can prevent the dentist from correctly positioning themselves for the right angle. This can make specific procedures more difficult and uncomfortable than it has to be. This will also cause constant re-adjusting of the seat, which will further prolong the dental procedure more than necessary.

The headrest is another vital part of the dental chair. It will provide improved comfort not only for the patient but also for the dentist. There are also removable headrests which are best suited for cases with children as they are most likely too small to reach it when lying down, making the headrest more a deterrent on this occasion.

One of the best types of dental chair headrest available is the double articulated headrest. This type of headrest offers a full range of articulation, which improves the dentist’s visibility with challenging to reach areas like the second and third maxillary molars. Double articulated headrests are usually priced between $500 to $800 in retail stores.

When dealing with exceptionally tall patients, a headrest that can be extended will provide optimum comfort. It is best to choose a headrest that offers maximum mobility in order to ensure that it will be able to cover all cases. Remember that you will be handling different patients of all ages; having a dental chair designed to support patients of all types is imperative.

The dimension of the dental chair is a vital factor to consider as well as the layout of the operatory. A dental chair with all the extra equipment such LCD monitor, X-Ray unit, etc. will add to its overall size. It is essential to ensure that the complete set will not cause any restrictions to the dentist’s movement. Most ergonomic dental chairs come with a higher price tag.

  • Dental Chair Upholstery

It is easy to look over upholstery as just an aesthetic element of a dental chair and not a key factor, but the truth is that it does provide some level of functional benefits. A quality upholstery chair will significantly improve the comfort levels of the patient. This is an equally important quality to consider, especially if the operation calls for lengthy procedures like dental implant operations. You would want your patient to stay in relative comfort throughout in order to alleviate any anxiety they might be feeling.

There are three commonly used materials when it comes to dental chair upholstery:

  1. Leather
  2. Polyurethane
  3. Rexine

Polyurethane is the most common and considered the most affordable of the three. Whichever is chosen, it is best to know beforehand the cost of repairs and re-upholstery. For example, leather can be quite expensive to repair or replace in the event that it is damaged. Rexine is also one of the more affordable options, but it might lack in regards to comfort as it usually traps body heat.

  • Aesthetics

First impressions last. That’s something that should be considered by any professional in all industry, in dentistry as well. The dental chair is the focal point of any clinic; hence, it will be the first element of the layout that the patient will notice. Making sure that quite a welcoming dental chair greets them will help smooth out the dental procedure to be had.

Patients will start developing their judgment based off of the chair. You would want to start things off at the right foot, correct? Do you want a dental chair that appears intimidating? Do you want the dental chair to appear unprofessional? Of course not. A dental chair that sports a modern and welcoming appearance will help keep your patient at ease from the get-go.

5. Main Functionalities of the Dental Chair

The functionality will be the backbone of the dental chair as well as the efficiency of the dentist. A dental chair that comes with all essential tools on-hand and within reach will significantly cut the time of every procedure by almost half. Functionality in a dental chair will undoubtedly add to the total cost, but it will be able to provide excellent levels of efficiency.

  • Dental Chair Delivery Unit

The delivery unit will be the key to overall efficiency. Most dentists today will prefer a delivery unit that is fully customized to suit their preferences. Mind you that these customized delivery units will come at an extra cost. There are two types of dental chair delivery units to choose from:

  1. Traditional
  2. Continental

The Traditional Delivery Unit – the standard mounted delivery unit often seen in most local dental clinics. Installation is simple, and it is designed to streamline functionality with relative ease. The traditional delivery system will usually four connection components, two connections dedicated to the airotor, and a single connection reserved for the electric motor. However, this delivery unit can take up considerable space. Dentists will also need to contend with the numerous tubing attached to the unit.

The Continental Deliver Unit – this type of delivery unit excels in providing enhanced convenience. It is designed for the dentist to operate smoothly and efficiently. It also does away with the need to use numerous tubing which eliminates the need to contend with untangling every now and again.

One of its distinct features is the whip arms that expertly guides the tubing and keep it organized at all times. The continental delivery unit is undoubtedly the more convenient option, but it is also quite expensive. Also, it might take a bit of time for dentists that are used to the traditional delivery unit set up to familiarize themselves with the layout with this one.

  • Control Panels

Dental chair control panels vary depending on the generation of the model and the manufacturer. Standard features to expect in a control panel would be adjusting chair position, water spray pressure control, speed of the electric motor, and LED light switch. Modern dental chairs have actually moved on from button-based control panels to touchscreen controls.

The advantage of touchscreen controls is that they offer a more streamlined experience. This type of control panel can also provide better flexibility when it comes to adjusting specific functionalities of the dental chair.

  • Chair Positioning

The versatility when it comes to adjustment of its position is one of the main features necessary in a dental chair. Chair positioning will be a vital element in a dental chair’s functionality. In fact, it is the core feature that must be provided without any issues.

The ability to adapt and position the chair to get the perfect angled during a procedure will help ensure the best results. A dental chair with high levels of flexibility in positioning has become the industry standard. You can expect this aspect to not have that much of an effect on the dental chair cost.

One of the most common complaints in older models of dental chairs is that it can be quite hard to replicate certain positions every time. Fortunately, there are modern dental chairs that come with the feature to save pre-programmed positions. This will automatically re-adjust the dental chair to specific positions at the touch of the button. This eliminates the need to continually adjust and re-adjust during the procedure, hence, saving time.

  • Chair Movement

It is essential that the dental chair can rotate without any jerky movements. Actually, it is imperative for it to do so. Keep in mind that some patient is more susceptible to anxiety, sudden jolts of movement during the dental procedure can further exacerbate their stress levels. As a doctor, making sure that your patient is comfortable is worth effort.

  • Foot Pedal Control

The foot control is one of its unique features and is a staple in all dental chairs. The advantages of this control scheme are that it can entirely prevent cross-contamination problems with patients. Standard foot controls are designed to manage the strength of compressed air that the airotor tubing uses. The control pedal can also be used to reset the dental chair back to its zero position (default position).

Modern versions of the foot pedal control incorporate an additional pedal for a total of two pedal controls. The first pedal is designed to control the ariotor while the other is for the electric motor. It can also be used to adjust the position of the chair as well as return it back to zero position.

6. Accessories of the Dental Chairs – Additional Expenses for Improved Quality of Life Service

The following components in this list are usually not part of the default dental chair package. However, it is best to consider adding some, if not all, of the following dental chair accessories. While the overall cost of the dental chair will surely increase, the fact that dental procedures will become more efficient and safer is a good trade to make in the long run.

  • Operating Lights

Let’s start with one of the essential accessories in any dental chair, the operation lights. This is a highly valuable accessory that offers excellent benefits to dentists as it can help illuminate hard to reach areas of the oral cavity.

There are two types of operating light available for the dental chair. First, there is the ambient light which illuminates the entirety of the dental chair unit. The second one is the task lighting, which is used primarily during specific tasks.

There are also three types of lighting to choose from.

  1. Traditional light bulb
  2. Halogen light
  3. LED light

Of the three, most consider the LED light to be the superior version. LED or Light Emitting Diode does not generate heat and can reach brightness that can surpass the previous two lighting types. LED lights are also known to operate for a considerably long time (over 50,000 hours). Replacement is also easy and affordable.

  • Assistant Arm

Another essential accessory to any dental chair, the assistant arm is an attachment that features spittoon as well as the suction tubes that are attached to the primary unit. Spittoons are usually made from ceramic material and are the bowl-shaped part on the dental chair.

The assistant arm comprises of two suction points, usually. The first one is a low vacuum suction while the other is high vacuum suction and is used in conjunction with the cannula. For more effortless operation, the switch for the suction tubing is now commonly found built-in with the assistant arm.

  • X-Ray Viewer

Finally, we have the X-Ray viewer accessory. This is another essential dental chair component as it can help facilitate procedures wherein the dentist needs to reference an X-ray film during the procedure. Rather than posting the X-ray film on display hanging from the wall, the dental chair X-ray viewer can be rotated and angled to allow the dentist to view it without needing to turn their heads every time.

7. Dental Chair Cost Breakdown and Other Miscellaneous Fees

Dental chairs, on its own, can be a considerable investment to make. This won’t even include other essential parts such as accessories and the installation fee. To help give you an idea of the total cost of installing a dental chair, here is a quick rundown of possible expenses that you might encounter along the way.

  • Expect high-end dental chairs to be priced somewhere in between $7,000 to $9,000. It is possible to find budget-friendly ones around the $1,000 price bracket, but these are mostly inferior or older models.
  • X-Ray units are also a requirement for any dental clinic. A quality unit will be priced at around $4,000 to $5,000. As for the X-ray film processor, the price is approximately $7,000.
  • The top-of-the-line semi-dry vacuum pump will cost around $8,000, but this is the higher end of the spectrum. Vacuum pumps that are designed for single operatories are much cheaper.
  • The retail price of a quality oil-less air compressor that can support up to four users is $6,000. Again, there are cheaper models for single users only.
  • As for the delivery unit, expect to shell out around $6,000 to $9,000 total.

Of course, manufacturers do offer special discounts to dentists if they reach specific requirements. Most dental chair manufacturers can provide up to 24% discount.


It is quite amazing to see how far dental chair technology has come in just a short period. From simply deciding the design of a dental chair, we are now at the point where a dozen factors will come into play before making a decision. Fortunately, well-known and trustworthy dental equipment manufacturers can be easily contacted, thanks to the internet.

It is all about doing proper research in order to determine which manufacturer will offer the best deal and services. As stated earlier, I refrain that you pick the cheapest dental chair available in the market. You want reliability more than affordability with these types of heavy-duty equipment. However, if budget truly is an issue might I suggest that still opt to meet half-way when looking for a dental chair. This will be a long-term investment, and it is best to take all steps to ensure that you get the best quality possible with your purchase.