Getting equipped for success

Nick Olive provides some – possibly less thought of – advice to consider when choosing the right equipment for your practice.

Analysing the financial health of your dental practice is a good time to look beyond the obvious and check the hidden costs that impact your profit margin and contemplate ideas that could expand it, too.

Here are some considerations that may slip under the radar.

Patient perception

Growing your patient list is often the first port of call for increasing profits. But what about how patients (current or potential) feel when they visit your dental practice? Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising (and completely free), so make sure your patients are talking about your practice for the right reasons.

Consider a patient’s journey from the front door through to your surgery. Providing great patient care in the dental chair is only half the battle; you also need excellent customer service at the reception desk and a calm, attractive practice decor that communicates comfort and reassurance to patients for them to believe they are getting the best care possible. It is only then they will persuade their friends and family members to come to you.

Choosing new equipment

Every patient that sits in your chair will have an opinion about it, whether they voice it or not. What the chair looks like and how comfortable it is may not be important to you, but it wil be to the patient. A modern-looking chair with plush upholstery will indicate a higher quality of care and reassurance to a patient than an old chair with ripped or stained upholstery.

When choosing new equipment, such as a dental chair, shopping around and doing research before deciding almost always pays off. Who doesn’t want to get the best value they possibly can for their money? If the time has come to replace your dental chair and you are feeling pressure to get the most out of your budget, it can be tempting to simply pick the chair package with the lowest price tag, that looks like it will get the job done – especially if you need new equipment in a hurry.

That sounds like a good plan on the surface, but consider how much that chair package may cost you in the long term. Will it be robust and reliable enough to serve you well for years to come, or could it cost you thousands of pounds more in repairs and downtime?

Ongoing maintenance

When your dental equipment isn’t working efficiently, neither is your team. Unreliable equipment that’s constantly breaking down or out of service cuts into your profit margin.

Product lifespan

Another point to consider is the lifespan of your dental equipment. Known for reliability, A-dec equipment is designed to last and the company’s dental chairs are tested for a minimum 20-year life; others may only last about 10 years.

In an independent survey completed by more than 200 American dentists in 2015, 67% voted A-dec chairs the best quality brand, and 58% voted A-dec the best long-term value equipment manufacturer (the next closest competitor came in at 14%).

When you consider the initial cost of the equipment over the number of years of service expected, your ownership costs for high-quality products tend to be significantly lower in the long term. A-dec equipment is designed to last longer, without downtime that costs you income – meaning you have a higher return on every pound invested.

Physical discomfort

The most common injuries in dentistry – tendonitis, pinched nerves, ruptured discs in the neck and lower back, and carpal tunnel syndrome – all develop slowly over time. If not addressed properly, they can become debilitating and career ending.

To prevent injury, ensure you choose dental equipment that supports ergonomic working practices. Equipment that places everything at the fingertips allows you to sit properly and work comfortably. This decreases unnecessary muscle strain and fatigue, and increases overall productivity, too.

Zero equals zero

Whether it is physical discomfort and exhaustion, or dental equipment that’s out of service while waiting for parts, it all means not having patients in the chair. And zero patients in the surgery generate zero revenue.

If you would like to talk about how you can work more ergonomically and efficiently, or visit an A-dec showroom to find the right solution for you, call 0800 233285, email [email protected] or visit

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