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Patient and Dentist Chair positions in Dentistry

Updated on July 23, 2012

The practice of dentistry is demanding and stressful.Dental procedures can be carried out both in sitting and standing positions.Physical problems may arise if appropriate working position is neglected.Three important things should be taken care of before starting a dental procedure are :-

a)Dental chair position

b)Patient position

c)Operator (Dentist)position


dental chair
dental chair

Dental chair position

Modern dental chairs are designed to provide total body support.Chair design and adjustment permit maximal operator access to the work area.

The adjustment control switches should be conveniently located.To improve infection control,chairs with foot switch for patient positioning are recommended.

The patient should have direct access to the chair.The chair should be low, the back rest upright and the arm rest adjusted to allow the patient to get into the chair.

After the patient is seated, the arm rest is returned to its normal position.The headrest cushion is positioned to support the head and elevate the chin slightly away from chest so that neck muscle strain is minimal and swallowing is facilitated.The chair is then adjusted to place the patient in a reclining position.

The patient in a comfortable position is more relaxed and more capable of co -operating with the dentist.


Patient position

The common patient positions in dentistry are

1) Supine position

2)Reclined position

3)Upright position

The choice of the patient position varies with the operator, type of procedure,area of mouth involved.

In supine position the patient's head knees and feet should be approximately at the same level.

In general,Head should not be lower than feet.But only in emergency conditions like Syncope,Patient's head should be positioned lower than the feet.

After completing the procedure,chair should be placed in upright position.So that patient can leave the chair easily and gracefully, preventing undue stress or loss of balance.

upright and recline position on top supine and emergency position bottom
upright and recline position on top supine and emergency position bottom

Operating position

Proper operating positions and good posture reduce fatigue and physical strain and possibility of developing musculo- skeletal disorders.

Most dental procedures can be accomplished while seated.Unnecessary curvature of the spine or slumping of should be avoided.Back and chest are held in upright position with the shoulders squared which promotes proper breathing and circulation.

Proper balance and weight distribution on both feet is essential when operating in a standing position.

Operating positions may be described by the location of the operator or by the location of the operators arm in relation to patient position.

For a right handed operator there are essentially 3 positions.They are RIGHT FRONT, RIGHT AND RIGHT REAR positions.These are sometimes referred as 7-,9-,and 11-o'clock positions,respectively.

7,9,11 indicate dentist position and 12 indicate patient position
7,9,11 indicate dentist position and 12 indicate patient position

For a left handed operator LEFT FRONT ,LEFT AND LEFT REAR positions.these are referred as 5-,3-,and 1-o'clock positions, respectively.

There is another position called DIRECT REAR position in which operator is located directly behind the patient and looks down over the patient's head.

Proper seating of the patient ,operator, assistant and working position enhance providing the dental treatment without an unnecessary decline in efficiency and productivity because muscle tension and fatigue.

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    • profile image

      thomas p o'neill 

      8 hours ago

      Thursday ( past was in dentists chair reclining for 3 hours ) When dentist assistant finally brought the chair to a sitting up position, I was lite headed ( Once up then got my bearings)

    • profile image

      kamna singh 

      4 years ago

      nice information

    • profile image

      heba 

      4 years ago

      thank you so much for this information. I need to know how to deal with the patient before sitting. is there something called personal space and social space etc...

    • profile image

      aadi 

      5 years ago

      i m hvng presentation on dis topic...will u hlp me,..for besttt presentation on chair positioning

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      5 years ago

      Anamika for maxillary left posteriors usually we prefer right rear or right position. It also depends on the type of the treatment done.

    • profile image

      anamika 

      6 years ago

      which position should be used for occlusal surface of maxillary left posterior teeth??

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      6 years ago

      It's glad to hear that you understood my hub lasahari

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      6 years ago

      Deepthi emergency position is the position to be used in emergency conditions. This position is medically called as Tredelenberg's position.

    • profile image

      S.lasahari 

      6 years ago

      It wx nice basic info..im student of dentistry..so igot it:)

    • profile image

      Deepti pathak 

      6 years ago

      Name the position of emergency condition except emergency position.

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      6 years ago

      Right rear position :- The operator is behind and slightly to the right of the patient.The left arm is positioned around the patient' head.It is the position of choice for most operations.The lingual and incisal(occlusal)surfaces of the maxillary teeth are viewed in the mouth mirror.Mandibular teeth can be viewed in direct vision.

      Direct rear position :- The operator is located directly behind the patient and looks down over the patient's head.It has limited application.It is primarily used for operating on the lingual surfaces of mandibular anterior teeth.

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      6 years ago

      Right front :- In this position the operator is located in the right front position on the right side facing towards the patient.This position facilitates examination and work on mandibular anterior teeth, mandibular posterior teeth(especially on the right side) and maxillary anterior teeth.

      Right position :- The operator is located directly to the right of the patient.This position is convenient for operating on the facial surfaces of the maxillary teeth, mandibular teeth and occlusal surfaces of the mandibular right posterior teeth.

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      6 years ago

      Abha bedi and Thilagavathy glad that this article is useful for you.I'm giving you some more information which may be helpful.The frequently asked questions are about patient chair position and dentist position.

      Supine position:- The position in which the patient's head, knees and feet are approximately at the same level.

      Recline position:- The position in which the patient's head and knees are in 45 degree angulation.

      Upright position :- The position in which the patient sits straight,head and knee are in 90 degree.

    • profile image

      thilagavathy 

      6 years ago

      i have viva coming on this pls send me the proper definition based on this topic

    • profile image

      abha bedi 

      6 years ago

      i have a viva coming on this.

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      6 years ago

      Thank you Igal

    • Igal profile image

      Igal 

      6 years ago from Los angeles

      Nice information on this hub.

    • swathi180 profile imageAUTHOR

      swathi180 

      6 years ago

      Joraxx try to remember in what position u are lying on a dental chair when you visit your dentist next time :-)

    • Admiral_Joraxx profile image

      Admiral_Joraxx 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! I did know there where names to such positions, I am a regular visitor to my dentist though, nice hub! great information!

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