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Alger Inc.: A Company That Knows Dental Office Design
Alger Inc. is a company that intimately understands the importance of considered dental office design. A well-planned dental office design can meet the daily needs of dental professionals and their patients, making the work more efficient and the patient experience more comfortable. Alger Inc. CEO Dr. David Alger has been an Orthodontist for nearly sixty years. He oversaw his own orthodontic practice in Conroe, TX, from 1965 to 1983; after which he worked internationally and domestically in hospitals and as a locum tenens provider for various orthodontists. Dr. David Alger started applying his wealth of healthcare knowledge as the CEO of Alger Inc. starting in 1970. Through the years, Dr. David Alger and his son, Alger Inc. President John Alger, have developed the innovative dental and orthodontic device the AlgerLight, making it a reliable and effective tool for modern dental offices.
Focusing Dental Office Design: The Operatory
Dental office design is a broad consideration. It encompasses the entirety of the office space, from the front desk all the way through specialized exam areas. It speaks to the office infrastructure as well as equipment and can be practical or aesthetic. To keep this article focused, we will be addressing the essential dental needs of the operatory, specifically. Though in future blogs, we will expand this consideration to address the various needs and considerations of the greater dental office in this recurring series on “Dental Office Design.” So make sure to check the Alger blog regularly for new informative articles that meet your interests.
Essential Operatory Items
- The AlgerLight
- Dental Patient Chair
- Clinician Seating
- The Dental Delivery System
- Operatory Cabinets
- Additional Considerations
1. The AlgerLight with LED
When considering the essential operatory items any dental practitioner needs, it’s important to first consider the available space. Floorspace in a dental operatory is limited, and overcrowding can gum up workflow and produce undesired claustrophobia in patients and practitioners alike. Luckily, the AlgerLight with LED provides an elegant solution to this problem. Light is one of those essential needs of any dentist. The AlgerLight with LED is a ceiling-mounted dental light that provides bright, focused, and maneuverable overhead dental light without sacrificing any of that precious floor space. The AlgerLight can be controlled using a handheld remote control or a hands-free footswitch to ensure that the practitioner’s hands are free to do other work during a patient’s visit.
2. Dental Patient Chair
The dental patient chair is the centerpiece of any dental operatory. It provides comfort to the patient and should ease the work of dental practitioners. As such, there are a number of considerations a clinician should make when selecting the best dental patient chair to meet their needs. Is the chair stable? Does it have enough padding to comfortably support patients of all sizes? Is the baseplate durable? Is the chair easily maneuverable in all positions? These are all base-level considerations of functionality that will most significantly impact patient and practitioner experiences. Since dental patient chairs regularly run thousands of dollars, cost is likely also a consideration, as is potentially aesthetics. A final and absolutely fundamental requirement is that the dental patient chair be built to stand the test of time. These chairs take a beating on a daily basis as patients enter and exit, as dental hygienists, dental assistants, and clinicians manipulate the various parts of the chair and brush up against the sides and headrest. The effects of these repetitive actions can build up, leading to breakage or a wearing down of materials. Make sure to select a patient dental chair built with quality materials and a durable design to ensure longevity.
3. Clinician Seating
While the dental patient chair is paramount, clinician seating is also of the utmost importance. It is used daily and almost as extensively as the dental patient chair. Clinician seating typically takes the form of some fashion of dental stool, as this style of chair is compact and can provide the comfort and ergonomics needed to properly support dental professionals while they work. Like the dental patient chair, clinician chairs should be sturdy, durable, and adjustable to fit the needs of practitioners as they move through procedures that require them to work from different heights and angles.
4. The Dental Delivery System
The Dental Delivery System is the most versatile item in a complete dental operatory. It is the hub for most of the air and electrical instruments a dentist and staff will need to complete daily procedures on patients. It is designed to provide practitioners seamless access to handpieces, such as air and water syringes, electric drills, and dental vacuums, without monopolizing room space. Dental delivery systems come in various forms, including chair and base-mounted units and portable delivery units. In addition to providing dentists with the basic needs of water, air, and suction, more advanced dental delivery systems can be equipped with cameras, additional lighting, x-ray viewers, and a slew of premium options designed to aid the work of modern dental professionals.
5. Operatory Cabinets
Operatory Cabinets are necessary tools of the trade for any dentist. Even the most basic of dental cleaning requires the use of multiple instruments. Appropriately selected and well-organized operatory cabinets streamline workflows and are active tools during patient treatments and equipment maintenance. For instance, the larger center island-style consoles can store large amounts of instruments and supplies that can be accessed prior to or during a procedure. Mobile cabinetry like dental and orthodontic carts are more compact but offer the added features of built-in dental delivery systems, serving as fully functional treatment stations. Specialized operatory cabinets, like sterilization cabinetry, ensure dental tools are clean and ready to go when clinicians or staff need them. Operatory cabinets come in a variety of styles and include various feature options, which make them one of the more customizable additions to a dental operatory.
6. Additional Considerations
The five essential operatory items listed above will start any dental office out on the right foot. They are each staples of dental office design that will be used throughout daily operations and can add to the comfort, efficiency, and aesthetics of a dental operatory. However, since each dental office is different, additional items should be considered to meet unique needs. For instance, if dental X-rays will be done in the operatory (instead of in a separate, dedicated X-ray area), then research into digital dental X-ray imaging instruments should be done to meet modern dentistry needs and patient expectations. Computer equipment and display panels are common additions. These can be used to visualize X-ray results and other scans, plan and illustrate results using specialized dental software, and allow patients to review and sign related paperwork digitally. Additional operatory seating may be helpful for patients who are engaging with any of the above outside of the dental patient chair. Screens are also commonly used as distraction devices for patients during procedures, displaying either calming content or entertainment media. The choice of these more optional operatory items will again depend on the specific needs of a particular office.
More to Come on Dental Office Design
The essential operatory items addressed in this article are a starting point for an ongoing overview of dental office design. We will continue to explore this topic from different approaches in future articles, so keep your eye on the Alger blog for information on dental office design and other informative topics.