Replace or repair your dental chair? Adam Shaw RPA Dental

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  Posted by: Dental Design      2nd August 2018

No matter how well looked after they are, all material goods have a shelf life. Whether this is because of a breakage or as a result of wear and tear, eventually there comes a time when patching up or repairing is no longer an option. When that happens it’s out with the old and in with the new – but with some objects it can be difficult to know when to call it a day.


The dental chair is one such item that can be difficult to judge; especially those that still technically work but are a bit over the hill. So how do you determine when to move on and buy a new dental chair? Well according to the Veteran’s Administration and the U.S. Army, who put together a list of estimates for a range of surgery equipment, a dental chair has an expected lifespan of around 15 years.[i]Together, with some further personalised calculations, you might be able to approximate when yours might be in need of renewal.


For example, a dental chair that is used for more than eight hours a day, five days a week will have a shorter lifespan than one that is used on a less frequent basis. As such, busier practices in prime locations usually tend to have a higher turnover of dental chairs than surgeries in rural villages with smaller patient lists. Whether or not you need to change your chair after 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years will very much depend on the size, location and patient base of your practice.


There are also patient demographics to take into consideration, as a treatment unit that is used for predominantly paediatric or teenage patients will naturally wear out more quickly from a greater level of physical movement. Children, after all, have a greater tendency to fidget when in the dental chair, as well as kick and swing their legs and feet.


To a point wear and tear can be resolved through simple fixes such as reupholstering or sending the accompanying fixtures or accessories off to be repaired. The question you have to ask yourself, however, is how much will the shelf life be extended by? If the answer is only by a few years then it might be worth investing in a new chair instead, because while you might get a few extra years out of it, it’s money that you won’t get back.


It’s a bit like fixing a car on its last legs to prolong having to buy a new one – taking it to the garage might make it road worthy for a short while longer but eventually it will stop working and it’s back to square one. Not all problems are terminal, though, so reconditioning is always worth considering – unless it’s a recurring problem causing lots of unwanted downtime. As a general rule of thumb, if repairs are costing you custom and causing inconvenience to the dental team and patients alike, then it might be worth getting rid. Where a chair can no longer be disinfected properly and it poses an infection control risk, it is always advisable to replace as soon as possible. If you’re not sure, seek consultation from a trusted repair technician or better yet, go directly to the manufacturer. Using their expert opinion they should be able to determine how much life your chair has got left in it.


Of course, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of repairs and extend the life of your dental chair. Frequent maintenance and servicing is one of the best ways to ensure your chair stays in full working order and presentable in appearance. If your manufacturer provides an ongoing service and you’re not using it on a regular basis already, then it might be worth arranging a visit with one of their trained technicians. It is also important to train staff how to properly use and maintain equipment, as well as how to recognise signs of damage and wear and tear.


Above all else, however, you need to purchase a good quality dental chair that is built to withstand the demands of the dental surgery. The Castellini line of chairs available from RPA Dentalare made using the highest quality components, technologies and techniques to ensure lasting performance and stand the test of time. Together with RPA Dental’s unrivalled technical support, annual maintenance and equipment evaluations and audits you are sure to get the most out of your dental chair so that it fulfils its expected shelf life.


Knowing when to repair or replace a dental chair is not always straightforward, but with the right help you’ll be sure to make the right call.


RPA Dental Equipment Ltd.

Visit us at

London and Manchester Sales and Service Centres call 08000 933 975


[i]“Safety Net Dental Clinic Manual.” Unit 2: Facilities and Staffing,Section 2: Equipment and Supplies. The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 2011. Accessed online March 2018 at


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