A Brief History Of Dental Chairs

A Brief History Of Dental Chairs
Authored By Tom Toi

Have you ever sat on a dental chair and marvelled and wondered just how much work has gone into designing and creating it? Well, if you have, you are definitely not the first person to be intrigued by all of the amazing things that a dental chair can do.

However, dental chairs were not always as sleek, comfortable and sophisticated as they are today. As a matter of fact, dental chairs did not even exist up until the early 1700s. Patients who wanted their teeth checked had to sit on the bare floor with their head held between the dentist’s knees. How fatiguing and awkward that might have been?

Necessity The Mother Of Invention

Dental chairs have gradually evolved over a span of many years, going from very basic wooden chairs to modern and highly technologically advanced seats that provide optimal comfort and versatility. For dental chairs to be invented, two main things were required.

First, dentists or the dental profession in general, had to be in existence. Second, dentists had to have patients to work on. However, people’s obsession with beautiful teeth did not start in the 21st Century.

The dental profession can be traced back all the way to Ancient Egypt where pieces of gold and ivory were used to replace missing teeth. The first real dental chair was invented in 1790 by an American dentist, Dr. Josiah Flagg.

He modified his writing chair into the first dental chair. He attached a working tray, created wider armrests and added a small headrest to improve functionality. Later on, he added a mirror to the chair to enable him to carry out even more sophisticated dental procedures.

Dental Chairs in The 1800s

In 1867, Dr. Beall James made the first patented wooden dental chair. The chair had the ability to recline and it also had a foot rest to enhance comfort. From here on going forward, individual dentists started doing their own custom modifications to their chairs.

For instance, many dentists started adding metal pieces to their chairs to make them more durable. The first instance of dental chairs being mass produced was in the year 1871. This was done by a well-known dental company at the time, SS White Dental.

The company produced metal chairs that could be adjusted with a special crank. In 1875, another dental company, Buffalo Dental Manufacturing, began making its own dental chairs that could recline backwards. This was a significant improvement because dentists now had the ability to sit while treating their patients.

Dental Chairs in The 1900s

The next major milestone for dental chairs was in 1940 when a company called Ritter Dental made a dental chair that included an x-ray device, and spittoon. The chair also made use of air pressure in adjusting position.

In 1960, Dr. Naughton, who has a prominent dentist at the time, made a chair with a back that enabled dentists to adjust to a prone position. This is widely believed to be the birth of modern dental chairs. Many companies have gone ahead to tweak and add new features to dental chairs. However, Dr. Naughton’s basic design is what is used up until today.

Brief History Dental Chairs

Modern Dental Chairs

Fast forward to the present and one can already tell that there is a huge difference between the dental chairs used today and those used several decades or centuries back. Today, dental chairs are smart and automated. Modern dental chairs are made using a wide variety of materials.

They have electrically powered engines that power their numerous functions. Other key features are: Digital Screens Hand pieces for drilling Pneumatic tubes that power surgical equipment Suction tubes for removing saliva during procedures, and many others.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering purchasing or upgrading to a new dental chair, MES Medical Equipment Services has been Australia’s leading provider of dental chairs and other medical equipment and equipment services since 1952. 

We were originally established to provide electro-medical products to healthcare professionals across the country. Our products range from sterilisation, dental systems, dental imaging, electrosurgical equipment, medical consumables,  dental lasers, and equipment service maintenance.

We sell only top of the line equipment and machines produced by the leading manufacturers in the world. Our integrity and standards are your guarantees!

If you are searching for the dental chair supplier in Australia, then look no further than Medical Equipment Services Australia

For all your medical and dental supply requirements, please call us today on 1300 342 013 or contact us through our website.



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