A dental chair is a specially designed medical device intended to support a patient’s body, especially during a performed dental procedure. It is an electrically operated chair with a water line, micromotor, and compressed air. The primary feature – it is retractable as per the dentist’s requirements during a procedure. The equipment also comes with a seat where your dentist sits while working on the patient.

As you might be aware, the dental unit is an essential care station for any dental clinic. The setup allows patients to position patients comfortably while their dentist examines their teeth. It is comfortably designed to provide the appropriate care. 

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The dental unit will generally include a dental chair for patient positioning and installation. Moreover, it has an instrument holder with various connected rotating instruments. In addition, there is a light in the unit that helps to see inside the mouth. Moreover, the unit contains a spittoon and an aspiration system much needed during treatment.

At times, it may seem that too many components are attached to the dental chairs. It can make you feel like you are in an aircraft. There are reasons for the same as the chair is raised above the ground. So what are the different parts of a dental chair unit, and what functions do they have? To learn more about the other parts of a dental chair, keep reading.

Components of a Dental Chair Unit

Dental units are incorrectly called dental chairs or even dental chair units. But you should understand that they are two different units. You also need to understand the difference to distinguish between the two. A dental chair is only one component of a dental unit.

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The dental units are a significant fixture in any dental clinic, probably because they are the center of a dental procedure. Dental chair units are generally affixed with various parts and components to make you comfortable. These components make any dental procedure smoother and more efficient.  

The equipment installation may vary from one dental unit to another, but there are a few general trends that all manufacturers follow. Meaning all units generally include aspiration equipment and instrument holders with the necessary dental tools, especially for patient care. 

These primarily include:

Handpieces include contra-angles, turbines, contra-angles, and micromotors to drill into a tooth quickly.

Air gun: for drying a specific area in your mouth.

Scalers: are dental instruments your dentist will use during periodontal care. 

Patient’s chair: As you might be aware, the dental chair is an integral part of the dental chair unit. It is where the dental consultation takes place. For all chairs, it is possible to adjust the inclination and height of the seat in all the chairs. You can also position the headrest at your convenience. Dental chairs consist of control buttons that can move your dental chair downwards and upwards. Your dentist can easily adjust it based on what best suits the requirement.  

Other components of a dental unit

Scialytic lamp – The lamp allows the dentist to have a shadow-free view of the inside of your mouth. It is also called a dental light. Your dentist may use the dental or operator light to illuminate the inside of your mouth or oral cavity while you sit on the dental chair. The light is usually positioned about 30-50 inches from your mouth. It helps to prevent the light from shining directly in your eyes and causing discomfort.

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The light has dimmer switches such that your dentist can adjust the intensity of the light as required. Protective barriers like plastic wrap or aluminum foil are placed on the handles and the switches of the light. The lights are cleaned frequently. Moreover, the movable parts of the light are often lubricated.

Spittoon – Patients often use this to rinse their mouths after receiving care.

Pedal – With the help of the padel, the dentist will activate the instruments. 

Aspirating tools – It will allow the saliva to be aspirated near sublingual glands.

The team will sterilize all these reusable dental tools after each use. Many items your dentist will use are generally disposable and single-use for safety reasons.

How Does a Dental Unit Work?

There are several elements to consider:

1 Compressed air supply 

Dental units often use systems that will require compressed air. Hence the dental chair unit is connected to an air compressor or a centralized compressed air network. 

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The compressor helps deliver between 8 and 10 bar of pressure at the tank outlet. You should note that this pressure is far too high for dental equipment. Therefore it becomes necessary to connect this equipment such that the pressure can be brought down between 4.5 and 5.5 bar. 

Your manufacturer will generally recommend this range. Your dentist will fix a pressure regulator with a potential filter at the compressor outlet to achieve the desired pressure.  

2 Water supply

Dental chair units must also be connected to a water supply for rinsing, cleaning, and cooling functions. But the water may cause several problems in dental units, such as limescale, sand, sludge, rust, or chlorine.  

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Additionally, bacterial biofilms may quickly appear on the inner surfaces of pipes. Hence it is essential to have an easily accessible, efficient, and clean water shut-off device in your dental office. You must have all this to avoid any complications.

You should avoid using old taps. Ideally, your clinic will have a valve that is easily accessible, so anyone can easily shut off the water every evening. This helps control limescale in installations. There are several measures available that can limit deposits and hence the dental chair unit can last almost six months.

3 Power supply

Some components of a dental chair unit and the instruments used during the procedure often require a power supply. For instance, micro-motors or some dental chairs should be connected to a power source to operate.

4 Ergonomics

How the different components in the dental unit move – such as the chair or instrument holder – is important. Several studies suggest some best ways to have an excellent balanced position – is while you can see all the tooth surfaces. Your dentist’s or assistant’s seat must be lower than the patient’s chair to see the complete mouth. 

What to Consider When Buying a Dental Unit?

You need to check the supply systems required for the proper functioning of the dental chair unit. Moreover, you need to consider three other essential elements:

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Space requirement

You should have enough area available for the installation of a dental unit. The space will help determine the number of elements and the configuration of the system. It simply means that based on the space available, you must choose the dental chair unit.


The dentist or care given can vary and cover a range of odontology specializations like periodontics, endodontics, implantology (dental implants in Dubai), etc. In this unit you can also find some units specifically designed for orthodontics.  

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Meaning depending on the requirement of the dentist, they can select the applications they desire. It is also essential to keep this in mind – the configuration of instrument holders.


Most dentists prefer to have a portable dental unit. You would be surprised to learn that there are portable dental care units that may fit in a suitcase weighing about ten kilos. For instance, they can be equipped with an integrated air compressor in order to operate compressed air handpieces. These units are ideal for specific missions or mobile dental clinics when one needs to go to remote locations.

How Do You Disinfect a Dental Chair Unit?

In the clinic you should seriously consider the disinfection of these elements. As taking these into account is necessary for the safety of the patients:

Process water: 

Recent studies confirm that different pathogens can colonize dental cooling systems. Water stagnation that happens during the night may lead to the growth of bacteria. Additionally, insufficient cleaning of centralized decalcification systems favors the development of micro-organisms or algae. These could even be fungi that then form a biofilm. 

Today several water disinfection techniques are available. You can use UV power to eliminate bacteria and even prevent biofilm growth. In addition, you can use automatic cleaning and disinfection systems. These systems often treat water with specially designed products permanently distributed in low doses.

The chair: 

As you may be aware all patients sit on the dental chair unit during examination and treatment. Hence the chair unit could be splashed with blood, mucus, saliva, and other bodily fluids during routine dental care.

Therefore, if the dental chair unit is not properly disinfected, patients, dentists, and caregivers may be exposed to all kinds of microorganisms. They might also be exposed to microorganisms like herpes viruses, HIV, staphylococci, streptococci, hepatitis B and C etc. 

These microorganisms could be transmitted through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids. Even in some cases, they get transmitted through indirect contact with contaminated objects. 

Moreover, the dental chair unit may be exposed to parasites like bed bugs and lice, which may harm patients. Therefore it is crucial to disinfect it with appropriate products after each use.

The surfaces: 

To limit the growth of bacteria on the surfaces, antibacterial coatings on the metal surfaces of the dental unit can be effective. The team should clean all surfaces using a disinfectant. 

Some manufacturers offer dental chair units that can automatically adjust the position of the chair. You can also find units wherein you can automatically position the instruments too. These features avoid possible contact with the hands, thus reducing the risk of contamination.

Final Thoughts

The various parts of a dental chair unit are designed to be convenient and functional for both the dentist and the patient. You may think that these are unrelated to each other. But you need to understand that they all contribute to the importance of the dental procedure. 

Special objects like the operating light, foot controls, and spittoon bowl help your dentist simplify dental procedures. It helps make the process more efficient, more smooth, and easier to carry out. Therefore, it provides a much better overall experience for the patients.

Before you choose the best dental unit for your practice. That is where an experienced, modern, and well-stocked medical equipment supplier may be the most helpful. At Engiomed, you can find top-of-the-line equipment and machines produced by the leading manufacturers. The integrity and standards are your guarantees. Give a call today!