The importance of ergonomics in squat practice design

ergonomicsKyle Turner explores the significance of ergonomics in dental squat practice design, offering insight into how it can affect the way the team works and the patient journey.

Ergonomics is key in any practice. At Hague we consider the layout of the practice to be paramount. Particularly when it comes to providing the ultimate in comfort for the dental team. As well as, a comfortable and stress-free patient journey.

Planning to succeed

The concept of ergonomics is a very important aspect of planning how a dental practice should operate.

The design needs to be aesthetically pleasing; however, this is a good example of where form follows function. Spaces can just feel wrong if the relationship between the dentist, nurse and dental equipment around them are not carefully thought through.

This is where professional expertise is needed. The design process is different depending on whether an existing practice or a new squat site is being updated.

Setting the parameters

An existing practice may require updating or refurbishing simply to satisfy the CQC. Or, perhaps the practice owners require new equipment or desire a new look and feel.

In some circumstances, the layout and positioning of the equipment and cabinetry will not change. It is almost a like-for-like swap.

Obviously, this is very different to planning and designing for a squat practice, where you may have an almost blank canvas from the outset.

There are pros and cons with both scenarios. For example, an existing practice in need of an update will already have the services and general layout in place, so there are time and money savings. Ultimately, decisions can be made, and options signed off, far more quickly.

On the other hand, designing a squat site, as already mentioned, gives the owners more choices and opportunities to do something a little different and really put their mark on their practice’s aesthetics and ambience.

Designing with ergonomics in mind

Designing with ergonomics in mind naturally extends the initial concept stage, as far more decisions need to be made.

From our side, we are not only having to try to guide the customer based on budget and their expectations; we also need to design within certain parameters to satisfy CQC, Public Health England and building regulations, from excepted materials and finishes, alongside specific dimensions, and positions of some of the necessary dental equipment.

Clearly, the ergonomic issues throughout a dental practice always need to be resolved and some can be challenging. For instance, within a surgery special attention needs to be given to patient access to the dental chair. Especially where a Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant, accessible surgery is specified. Equally, the spacing and positioning of the dental equipment in relation to the dentist, nurse and patient is paramount.

In addition, the reception area will require quite clear and specific ergonomics from the access point into the building. Perhaps there will be floor level changes, so gradients will need to be calculated.

Then, once the reception desk is reached, certain heights and positions will also need to be evident to allow a comfortable area for the receptionist and patient to interact.

Once the patient leaves the reception area, the need for ergonomics continues. Specifically in terms of a DDA compliant toilet and, of course, the dental chair.

It is also evident that selecting the correct size premises for your requirements can make the finished dental practice a far more relaxed environment for the dental team and patients alike.   

Everyone benefits 

Good ergonomics promote a more efficient working environment. This ultimately helps to maintain the dental team’s energy levels throughout the day.

Ergonomics are also an important way to eliminate physical stresses on the body. This can be caused by hours of providing clinical treatment in an unnatural position.

Most dental clinicians suffer from musculoskeletal pain at some point in their careers, chiefly manifesting as back, shoulder, neck and/or wrist and hand pain (Lietz et al, 2018), which can lead to incapacity, both physically and emotionally.

The ergonomics of the equipment you choose to use will play no small part in whether you suffer from any such discomfort or distress.

As for patients, their overall experience of visiting the dentist will be far less stressful if good ergonomics have been adopted at the design stage.

In the pursuit of a stress-free patient journey, ergonomic installations make it as easy as possible. Whether that involves getting in and out of the dental chair or having an intraoral X-ray taken.

By improving the ergonomics within your dental practice, you can rest assured that everyone who moves within that space will benefit. 

Top tips for ergonomic working

Make sure the distance between the head of the dentist, chair and cabinetry is discussed and you, as the person in the ‘hot seat’, have input.

Ensure access to the dental chair is made as easy as possible for the patient. For example, try to prevent climbing around spittoons, ducking dental lights and side-stepping X-ray arms.


Lietz J, Kozak A and Nienhaus A (2018) Prevalence and occupational risk factors of musculoskeletal diseases and pain among dental professionals in Western countries: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis. PLoS One 13(12): e0208628

Find out more about how Hague Dental Supplies can help you create your ideal squat practice. Visit, email [email protected] or call 0800 298 5003.

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