Take the Center Seat

Looks Like You’re In the Front Row!

What is a center seat? Well, that phrase typically describes a seat that gets the most attention. Sometimes it’s where a commander sits, and other times it’s a place reserved for scrutiny. At the Placerville Dental Group, it’s the one where we place our patients so they can be as comfortable and confident as possible while we look after their oral health. Of course, you might refer to it as a dental chair. Today’s versions of a dental chair might resemble a luxury lounger or gaming station, but it wasn’t always that way. It’s taken centuries of research, development and experience to create the center seat we know you’ll enjoy. Let’s go over a few historical highlights of this key feature in the dental office.

Dental Chairs Back in the Day

Before the 18th century, dental tools were very limited and rudimentary. When it came to dental chairs, they were non-existent – a dentist often braced a patient on the floor, or used any available chair, if there was one. Beginning in the 1700’s, dentists began to take note of this lack and come up with ideas for improvement.

  • 1790 — Josiah Flagg modified a Windsor writing chair by adding an adjustable headrest and tool tray.
  • 1832 — James Snell added a reclining feature to his chair.
  • 1867 — James Beall Morrison added more adjustability to the position of the chair. His could be raised and lowered, even tilted left or right.
  • 1877 — Basil Wilkerson introduced hydraulics to his dental chair design.
  • 1887 — Dewell Stuck supported a dental chair with a central pedestal instead of four legs.
  • 1958 — Dr. John Naughton further improved the reclining chair with an articulated backrest and seat, leaving the patient in a more comfortable, horizontal position.

From that point on, most improvements have been aesthetic. Some materials have been replaced with ones that are more resistant to bacteria. Better electric engines and mechanics offer smooth, gentle rides from one position to another. Many feature added accessories like spit trays, lights and monitor mounts. But the main look and functions of the dental chair has been accepted and used for decades.

What is your favorite feature of the center seat? Let us know at your next visit. If you have any questions about the dental chairs used at the Placerville Dental Group, feel free to ask. You can do so over the phone or drop us a line on our website. Of course, we’d much prefer that you do so during your semiannual checkup with us, so you can enjoy the center seat as we help you take care of your oral health.

May 13, 2021 | Dental Profession


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