Dentistry Equipment: What You Need When Setting Up A Clinic

Whether you are an early-career dentist thinking about opening a clinic later in your career, or a private investor looking for a new dental venture, there are several non-negotiable pieces of equipment that every practice needs. These not only provide practitioners with the necessary tools to complete examinations and procedures, but they will also help ensure patient safety across the board.

Dental Handpieces 

The dental handpiece is the tool without which the practice would not be able to run. They’re versatile tools, employed on a daily basis for a range of treatment options. They may all look quite similar to the untrained eye, but there are many different types, all varying in terms of quality, function, and price. For example: 

  • High-speed handpiece. Employed for the removal of enamel or tissue, these handpieces are used prior to dental treatments such as crowns, creating margins, and removing tooth structures. 
  • Slow-speed handpiece. As the name suggests, the opposite of the previous model type. The slow speed option is used when polishing the tooth, trimming, or dealing with soft decay. 
  • Electrical vs. air turbine. Handpieces are powered in two distinct ways, with air-driven models using a turbine to generate their rotative movement. The internal gearing of an electric model allows for consistent power, with speeds running up to 200,000 rpm. 

Dental Chairs 

The dental chair, as you might imagine, is not your run-of-the-mill chair. It’s key in that it offers patients comfort for long periods, as some procedures can last many hours. In addition, they should also meet practical requirements, allowing dental professionals to deliver optimal care to their patients. 

For example, look for models that offer a range of chair adjustments. Focus on quality of features, rather than quantity. Ensure that all dental equipment can be mounted and configured as part of the dental unit, giving dentists quick and convenient access to the essentials. 

Basic Instruments 

No matter the size of the dental clinic, there are several ‘must-have’ items. These essential instruments allow for the delivery of the most common dental procedures and examinations: 

  • Dental examination mirrors allow for the exploration of the patient’s mouth, and they’re also excellent tools for illumination through reflection
  • Periodontal probes are employed to assess the patient’s dental health as part of an initial examination, measuring, locating, and marking sectors that may require treatment. 
  • Dental trays should be used for specific purposes and as such, each practice requires several models. For example, you have a surgical tray and a hygiene tray, with tools not mixing. 
  • Bib holder. This is quite a basic ‘tool’, but it’s worth mentioning. It attaches a bib to the individual’s neck, ensuring hygiene throughout procedures. 
  • Cotton rolls and 2×2 gauze. These help the dentist isolate teeth, absorb saliva, provide protection, and are used in all types of procedures. 
  • Patient bib. Dentists must ensure that patient safety is first on the list of priorities, with the patient bib preventing debris and fluids from contacting both the patient and dental staff. The high-quality options include a protective liquid barrier on one side and an absorbent one on the other.

Dental X-Ray Equipment 

There are certain examinations that require more than the dentist’s naked eye, and the dental X-ray machine is an invaluable tool to highlight the required treatment. X-rays can produce images of the interior of gums, teeth, and adjacent structures, pointing out any existing malformation or the presence of disease.  

The dentist will also need to have anterior and posterior X-ray tools, which include plastic aiming rings, metal indicator arms, film, and a plastic bite block. In addition, a digital sensor must be used to capture the required digital image, instead of the traditional x-ray films. 

Suction Systems

The suction pump is used in a variety of settings, including basic dental checkups and complicated surgical procedures. These systems ensure that all debris generated during the average procedure is removed safely and without contamination. 

Operating Light 

Lighting for dental practices comes in a variety of models, depending on the adjacent setup. The main piece of advice here is to ensure that you provide the dentist with several options to maximize visibility. This ensures the optimal success of procedures. 

Ideally, lighting should be flexible and easy to move around. This gives both the patient and dentist the possibility of moving to the best and most comfortable position. During lengthy surgical procedures, for example, the dentist may require an occasional shift in position. 

Focus on Quality and Safety 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of every single piece of equipment a dental clinic needs. Requirements vary depending on the size of the practice, types of procedures offered, and country-specific brands/tools and legal requirements. 

However, this list does encompass the majority of dentistry equipment that a new practice should focus on in terms of quality and safety. The most important piece of advice is to never skimp on quality; remember, there is a big difference between ‘cheap’ and value.


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