A dental treatment unit is a key element of any dental office. This is a stationary equipment complex intended for patients’ oral cavities treatment. To work at the up-to-date level, the default configuration should consist of: a patient chair, a CS/TS dentist’s module (either with swinging or hanging hoses), an assistant module, a hydroblock, and a light source.

Any dental treatment unit has to facilitate the following manipulations:

- conducting inpatient and outpatient dental procedures;

- hard tooth tissues preparation;

- endodontic teeth treatment;

- prosthetics;

- orthodontic intervention.

What you should know about the patient chair

When dentists choose a dental treatment unit, they should pay special attention to the patient chair. Electromechanical and hydraulic patient chairs are the most popular. The latter ones are cheaper but in the case of even a minor malfunction, oil leakage can be provoked making the chair inoperative. Electromechanically driven chairs are more expensive but their design provides comfortable operation even when the mechanism is out of order.

It is worth paying special attention to the chair upholstery and its mechanical and chemical durability. The chair should be adjusted gently, smoothly, and without jerking movements.

The dentist’s module

It is the most important part of the dental treatment unit. There are two types of the module depending on the dental instrument delivery system: with swinging or hanging hoses.

With swinging hoses, it is more convenient for the dentist to return the instruments to their original position due to secure fixturing. The limited hose length, being one of the shortcomings, somewhat negatively affects the operational comfort for a dentist.

With hanging hoses, the operation becomes more practical, there is no “bar,” but a dentist has to mind the handpiece fixturing in the socket, otherwise, there is a risk of damaging it by dropping it accidentally. There is another shortcoming for this kind of system: the fixturing sockets can accumulate dirt.

Any dentist’s work also depends on the number of instruments connected to the module. When the number of hoses is insufficient, a dentist will have to spend extra time to change instruments, and this will negatively affect patient throughput. But if the provided services include only the usual therapeutic procedures, then a minimal set of instruments (three hoses for “air-water” guns, a micromotor and an air turbine handpiece) will suffice.

Dentists will make a decision on how to further equip their units with instruments taking into account the type of dental unit, their desire, financial capacity and services provided. If desired, it is possible to retrofit the dentist’s module by an air or electric scaler, additional micromotor or turbine handpiece, electrocoagulator, and light curing unit.

When choosing the module configuration, it is hard to make a decision in favor of either the electric or air engine. The electric engine is more expensive but it is more powerful (up to 40,000 rpm), while the air engine is cheaper generating only up to 25,000 rpm. If you need more power, your choice is obvious. It also works this way with scalers: the air scaler will cost less. However, piezoelectric scalers are more powerful and shorten the duration of dental procedures.

Dental assistant’s unit

Such devices are complete with hydroblocks (cuspidor glasses, cup fillers) and suction systems. It is possible to place the control unit and additional dental instruments on the assistant’s unit. Most often they are separate.

As for the bowl: we recommend the ceramic option fitted with turning mechanisms. This is a more expensive variant in comparison with a stationary glass bowl. But it is comfortable and complies with hygienic requirements.

The hydroblocks can be equipped with such devices as a disinfection system, a solid particle collector, a hygienic system, an amalgam separator, and a water or air heater for the gun. The suction system is used to remove blood, saliva, pieces of teeth, and filling particles from patients’ oral cavities. There are two kinds of suction systems: with inverter control or vacuum system. The operation of the former one is based on hydrodynamic principles. The vacuum suction system operates by creating a vacuum (for this purpose, a compressor is used).

We recommend you to choose a compressor taking the suction system type into account. So, in the injector suction system, the air consumption is greater because of the air suction. That is why the compressor power is higher. As for the vacuum suction system, you have to use a suction separator.

Control pedals

This element controls the patient’s chair operation and instruments. Regarding the pedals, the dental treatment unit should be chosen according to the type of work which will be performed on it. Accordingly, the dentist should make a decision which models will suit him better: with 1-, 2-, 3- or more key pedals.

Prices and the main pricing factors

Prices for dental treatment units start at $3,000. For a modern multifunctional system meant for high patient capacity, you will have to pay up to $17,000.

The prices are affected by functionality and a number of “sockets” for instruments in the dentist’s module, a number of chair programs and chair positioning programming options, lifting/lowering mechanism features, and built-in disinfecting system availability. Prices also depend on the suction system type, the material of which each element of the dental treatment unit is made of, the headrest mechanism, the lighting device brightness and other features. But any manufacturer’s equipment can be enhanced with multiple devices which the dentist may need while working.

Prices are also influenced by the warranty terms. Top models, manufactured in Japan, are sold with a 36 months warranty, while most European manufacturers offer only 12 months of free warranty services.

Economy, middle and premium class units’ manufacturers

The following German brands KAVO, SIRONA, RITTER (only the top models), Italian Anthos, Mini Helpadent, and American A-DEC manufacture top class expensive dental treatment units.

The middle-class units are represented by Slovak manufacturers: SLOVADENT, CHIROMEGA, CHIRANA MEDICAL, and MEDIPROGRESS, Italian manufacturers OMS and FONA, a Korean manufacturer HALLIM DENTECH, Japanese TAKARA BELMONT, and Chinese SIGER. A certain number of models of A-DEC brand, mentioned above, belong to the middle-class units as well.

Most economy class dental treatment units are of the Chinese origin: for instance, AZIMUT, Fengdan, and PREMIER. But a number of models from manufacturers which produce middle-class medical equipment also belong to this segment: Slovak Chiromega and Mediprogress and Italian FONA. Such Brazilian manufacturer as SYNCRUS HS and Ukrainian Satwa-Kombi are also popular dental treatment units of this class.

Each dental treatment unit should be considered separately because one and the same manufacturer produces equipment of various classes. For example, A-DEC or FONA are among such manufacturers.

Olexiy Stahiv, doctor, BiMedis Company