The patient’s first perception of a dental office will remain with that patient during future appointments. What are factors to consider when creating a positive experience for the patient? (Details, organization, the manner in which you receive, treat, and dismiss the patient.) All aspects of the dental office must be professional.
Why do you think the temperature in the clinical area is higher? (Usually the clinical area is a smaller area and has an overhead dental light, which generates heat.) What is a common statement from patients when air exchange is poor?
The wall covering should not be too “busy.” Wallpaper or paint is recommended. Why is a vinyl floor covering recommended for clinical and laboratory areas instead of carpeting? (Infection control. Vinyl flooring can be washed and disinfected.) Why are separate areas recommended for the patients when they are checking out? (Privacy, which is mandated under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA] of 1996.)
Why is it important to keep specific sounds associated with the dental office from carrying throughout the office? Privacy: HIPAA took effect on April 14, 2003. All patient accounts, billing, and medical records must comply with the law.
Dental practices vary in size. However, certain critical components are found in all dental offices. The design of a dental office must follow guidelines set forth by the American Dental Association and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
What is one of the ways to ensure that the reception area is not a waiting room ? If the reception room is dirty or outdated, what impression will patients take away with them? (That the dental office and treatment procedures are also dirty and out-of-date.) Choose reading materials that will interest patients. Provide a place in the reception area where children can play with safe (plastic or soft) toys or read books. The toys should be kept away from traffic areas.
What are the positive aspects of the reception room pictured here? What are the negative aspects of the reception room? (Light-colored carpet may be hard to maintain.)
The administrative area should be separate from the reception and clinical areas to provide adequate patient privacy. No patient charts or information should be in plain sight or where other patients might have access to them.
What are the positive aspects of the administrative area pictured here? What are the negative aspects of the administrative area?
The treatment area is the control center of the clinical area. Most dental offices have two or more dental treatment areas per dentist and one operatory for the dental hygienist. What is the purpose of having more then one operatory for each dentist? (Increases efficiency.) Arrangements of the operatories should be similar in design. Why? (For easier access to items that may be kept in each room.)
What are the positive aspects of the treatment area pictured here? What is one negative aspect of the treatment area? Is this treatment room adequately equipped?
Dental chairs are available in different sizes for adult and pediatric practices. The headrest, which can be adjusted to the patient’s height, is used to support the patient’s head securely. Chair arms can be moved aside when the patient is being seated or dismissed.
Why should the dental chair have smooth, seamless surfaces and flat, smooth controls or buttons? Why are foot controls a positive design feature?
What features of the operator’s stool are important in reducing body and eye fatigue? (Adjustment up and down and ease of movement around the patient’s chair.) The minimum number of casters for adequate support and maneuverability on the operator’s stool is five.
Regardless of the assistant’s height or stature, the stool should allow the assistant to twist and turn to easily reach countertops and shelves. What is the purpose of the abdominal bar? (To help the assistant avoid lower-back pain caused by leaning over during the dental procedure.)
Notice the multiple casters on both the operator’s and the assistant’s stools. They add stability and maneuverability. Notice the footrest on the assistant’s stool. It allows the assistant to raise the stool above the operator to increase visibility while supporting the assistant’s weight. The feet are placed on the footrest so that the assistant’s thighs remain parallel to the floor for proper spine support.
What factors determine the type of dental unit placed in each operatory? Front delivery provides the operator with easy access to dental instruments and handpieces without the need for stretching or twisting. Side delivery allows the dental unit to be easily positioned for a left-handed or right-handed clinician. Rear delivery keeps dental instruments and handpieces out of the patient’s sight.
The dental unit pictured, depending on where it is attached at the base of the chair, may swing to provide front, side, or rear delivery. Notice the smooth design and limited number of crevices to facilitate cleaning. Multiple attachments can be prepared and made readily available during the dental procedures.
The amount of pressure placed on the rheostat by the clinician’s foot will determine the speed at which the handpiece revolves. The air-water syringe is necessary for every procedure. Often a dental unit will contain two air-water syringes, one close to the dentist and one close to the dental assistant.
Halogen bulbs are used in most operating lights. The light is attached to a flexible arm that is either track-mounted from the ceiling or attached to the wall or dental chair.
Disposable traps collect large debris, tooth structure, and old restorative materials that may loosen during tooth preparation and keeps them from becoming trapped in the plumbing pipes or expensive vacuum systems. The amalgamator and curing light can be mounted in a cabinet or under a countertop for easy access. However, the light cord must be able to reach to chair during dental procedures.
The central vacuum compressor has two parts: (1) a compressor that creates airflow and (2) a vacuum tank that screens the flow of air to create suction. The central air compressor must be subjected to routine maintenance to avoid the buildup of condensation, which will result in the formation of algae and sediment in the air lines and waterlines.
Who is responsible for the care of the clinical areas before and after the scheduled patients? (The dental assistant.) Careful completion of the morning steps ensures the smooth flow of patient care throughout the day.
Careful completion of the evening steps ensures that the equipment will be maintained and the team will be prepared for the next day. Turning off dental equipment before closing the office each day will minimize overnight equipment problems or possible damage to the dental office resulting from water leakage or fire.
The sterilization area is a crucial component of day-to-day operations. Step-by-step procedures and protocol must be followed to eliminate cross-contamination or infection-control problems that can injure a dental worker or patient.
What are some of the procedures performed in the dental laboratory? (Pouring of impressions, preparation of diagnostic models, and creation of custom impression trays.) All contaminated materials (alginate impressions, removable appliances, etc.) should be disinfected before being handled in the lab. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn during laboratory procedures.
What is a consultation room? (A room where the dentist discusses diagnosis and treatment plans with the patient.)
This area may be used by the staff during personal time or for staff meetings. It is customary for the dentist to financially support a coffee service and food vendor. PPE should not be worn or taken into the staff lounge.