The operators chair

This should be fully adjustable and mobile, provide a broad, preferably anatomically contoured seat and give support in the lumbar region. It should be adjusted in height to suit each individual operator in order to distribute the weight equally between the thighs and feet. The dental nurse chair differs only, but importantly, in that it must adjust to at least a 10 cm increase in height and provide a corresponding 'bar stool' type rim rest for the feet.

Fig. 1.1 Position of operator relative to chair.

Operator and nurse positions

The dentist will normally work within a range from the 12 o'clock to the 9 o'clock position relative to the patient's head. However, most operative procedures are completed from, at, or near, the 12 o'clock position. The dental nurse will normally remain in a fixed position at 4 o'clock (Fig. 1.1) but at a considerably higher position in order to look down or forward to the mouth. This height not only facilitates the different tasks, but enables the nurse to visualise the back of the mouth and remove any accumulation of debris or water.

Operator's vision

There can be no doubt that any tooth is best visualised by direct vision (Fig. 1.2). However, the nature of operative dentistry demands that, whenever possible, the line of vision is perpendicular to the tooth surface. Clearly, those surfaces inaccessible by direct vision must be visualised indirectly through a mirror (Fig. 1.3). Nevertheless, it remains important, however difficult, to position the mirror and attempt a near perpendicular view. Magnification of the working area provides a major advantage in both the reduction of eye strain and the promotion of high standards.

Fig. 1.2 Direct vision.
Fig. 1.3 Visualisation in mirror.

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