Top tips for designing a new dental surgery

Kirsty Hague shares invaluable insight in relation to the elements that add up to first-rate dental surgery design, including ergonomics and efficiency.

Kirsty Hague, the interiors and marketing director at Hague Dental, shares invaluable insight in relation to the elements that add up to first-rate dental surgery design, including ergonomics and efficiency.

Although modern automated equipment benefits dentists and their patients, attention to layout that focuses on ergonomics and efficiency is essential for good dental surgery design.

Also important is décor because our surroundings can have a profound effect on our feelings. Few would fail to enjoy the beauty and tranquillity when sitting by a campfire or strolling the golden sands of a tropical island.

These requirements can be balanced very effectively. For example, dentists need to ensure their patients remain comfortable, hence the importance of a well-designed and upholstered chair. Plus, while a patient may spend half an hour or so in the chair, the dentist will spend the entire day attending to patients.

Consequently, an ergonomically efficient clinical area is also critical to the dental team’s wellbeing.

Key elements

When designing a surgery, it is essential to ensure that it adequately meets the needs of your practice. There are four main aspects to consider when making your choices.

1. Ergonomics

Excessive bending and stretching frequently lead to debilitating musculoskeletal disorders such as chronic lower back pain. It’s essential that your supplier provides you with a CAD layout, to consider the set up of the cabinetry in relation to the chair.

Ideally, the cabinetry should create a ‘cockpit’ around the chair to ensure efficiency. Consider in advance how you are going to use every drawer and cupboard.

2. Quality

Equipping a new practice or refurbishing an existing one requires a substantial investment, and it might be tempting to shop around for bargains. But often buying a cheaper chair will result in an impact on the health of the dental team.

Look for a chair with a slim backrest and double articulating headrest, which allows you to position the patient low enough to gain access to the oral cavity while maintaining an ergonomic position.

3. Legislation

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) requires dentists to observe five specified standards, two of which should influence your design choices.

The first of these is safety; your design must ensure a safe environment for staff and visitors.

The second requirement is to provide a treatment area that will enable effective care leading to satisfactory outcomes and promoting good quality of life for patients and practitioners.

4. Visual appeal

It is easy to overlook aesthetics when focusing on efficiency, but it would be a mistake to ignore the effect surroundings can have on patients and staff. Surgeries do not have to be painted all white!

White can feel very clinical and to a patient this can increase their anxiety. Consider the walls (and ceiling) and what interior elements you could add to create a more relaxed working environment.

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Hague’s services include expert advice on all the essential requirements for designing a dental surgery that is safe, effective, ergonomically efficient, visually appealing and CQC compliant. Visit,

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