Top 4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Dental Chair

Provided by A-dec.

There are many reasons a dentist may choose one chair over another, from the ability to integrate a full range of options, to comfort and ergonomics for patients and staff—and countless personal preferences in between. What matters most is finding a chair that’s the right fit for you and your team. Before you begin diving into the details, think about these four high-level considerations, which apply to all types of practices across the board.

1. Performance and Efficiency
Does every feature have a specific purpose geared toward helping you and your team gain access and perform at your best? Is each piece ergonomically designed for both patient comfort and yours? Look for a thin backrest, swivel on both sides of center, soft cushioning, programmable positions, dual-articulating headrest, movable, multi-position armrests, synchronized chair movement and a footswitch or touchpad.

2. Durability and Reliability
Is the chair made to last and built to withstand the rigors and harsh environment of the operatory? Is it sturdy and easy to position? Look for equipment that is reliable and ready for years of continuous use, with a track record for minimal service calls.

3. Reputation and Service
When your equipment isn’t working, you aren’t working. It’s that simple. So, research is key. What’s the track record of the chairs you are interested in purchasing? What is the historic record of service and repair? Ask your peers and service techs what products they know and recommend. Access to ongoing customer support is also key. Make sure you know you will be able to get the help, advice, and replacement parts you need for many years to come.

4. Cost of Ownership
Choose a chair with reasonable life costs—typically, the expense required for maintenance and repair over the chair’s expected life. Consider a solution with a reputation for functional simplicity and reliability, which may negate expensive maintenance costs and limit downtime in the future—meaning you have a higher return on every dollar invested. And, if you need a repair, make sure the technician is specifically trained to the manufacturer’s standards. This relationship means access to genuine parts, ensuring a higher standard of repair and longevity.

Look at the chairs that dentists have voted the best patient chairs for the past 12 years. Visit to compare A-dec’s top three and help you get started on this important decision.

The Value of a Man

by Ursula Amerine  |  photos by Moira Photography


Looking back on his memories as a child, Dr. Tony Pacheco’s life was anything but easy. “I don’t think people knew how poor I was growing up. We grew up on the wrong side of a town of 3,000 people.” Living in a one bedroom house with six people in Spearman, Texas, Dr. Pacheco did not have a lot of expensive things, but the values he was taught during that time were priceless.

He was taught to work hard, respect people, to be honest and, most of all, to live with integrity. “I want to stay true to the small town values that were instilled in me from back in the day. When I practice dentistry, I have to be able to look my patients in the eye and feel good about the service I am providing them. I can’t lie to people. I won’t do it. I will just shoot straight with them.”

Dentistry from a Child’s Perspective
Dr. Pacheco’s interest in dentistry started as a young child. His mom worked her way up from housekeeper to dental assistant, and this provided his first exposure to dentistry. “They would let me empty the trash as a child and, as I got older, I was able to observe more. When I would come back from college, I really got to observe and do some hands-on things like making molds.”

When asked what about dentistry was most appealing, Dr. Pacheco laughed. “The dentist my mom worked for was in the office four days a week, made good money, was well-respected in the community and seemed to have an easy life. As a dentist, I now know it’s a difficult career that is both physically and mentally taxing, but at the time, he made it look very easy.”

Quality Over Quantity
Dr. Pacheco believes that quality dentistry is more important than the quantity of patients he can see in a day. That small town charm is the essence of his office. When a patient makes an appointment, no matter how quick the procedure, Dr. Pacheco schedules him or her for an hour. He takes his time and answers questions to make his patients feel more comfortable with the procedures he is going to perform. From a simple filling to an implant, he takes the time to educate each patient about his or her dental health. “Patient education is important, showing the patient the value of getting it done right the first time.”

Quality Dentistry that Lasts
In addition to quality patient time, Dr. Pacheco is obsessive about his precision as a dentist. “My goal is to provide quality dentistry that is going to be around forever.” As a dental craftsman, he refuses to take short cuts in his procedures or with the products he uses. “We do not cut back (moneywise) on our materials…every short cut you take gives your patients a product that is not good.”

That is where Dr. Pacheco gives his accolades to his Burkhart Account Manager Sam Thompson. “If there is a problem with my materials or equipment, I talk to Sam. Burkhart stands behind all their products…that’s what I like. Sam has done everything he can do for my practice to make it successful…he always steps up to the plate.”

Volunteering with Manos de Cristo
Giving his best in his office is not Dr. Pacheco’s only passion. He is also passionate about giving to his community—which he does through his volunteer efforts at Manos de Cristo. Manos de Cristo ( promotes dignity and self-reliance of low-income individuals by meeting basic needs with food and clothing, providing essential oral care, and furthering educational development.

Dr. Pacheco started volunteering his dental services for their dental clinic in 2007. Throughout the years, he has made his mark with Manos de Cristo by organizing the gala that helps fund Manos, helping them reduce their supply cost by connecting them with Burkhart, and as of 2013, he has served on the board and is now board president. When asked why he decided to volunteer with Manos de Cristo, Dr. Pacheco explains, “Growing up, I started at the bottom, and now I am here, so how can I not appreciate everything I have and want to do something good for everyone else?”

The Value of a Man Resides in What He Gives
Albert Einstein said, “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not what he is capable of receiving.” Dr. Pacheco gives through hard work by being the best at his craft. He gives respect to his patients by giving them the quality dentistry they deserve not only with his time, but with the products he uses. He gives through the honesty and integrity of his work by not cutting corners and making sure each treatment plan is the best it can be. “How you live your life is how you will run your practice,” he says.


More Than Dentistry

Dr. J. Alexander Kussad shares his story of caring for refugees


International Medical Relief, a Colorado-based organization, organized a humanitarian mission to the Aegean island of Lesbos. Its core mission is community outreach and education, especially in the developing nations.

So this trip was unique, in that they were operating in a European country, and instead of reaching out to settled villagers, I was part of a group of volunteers reaching out to refugees and migrants—people on the move who are only in a given location for a day or two. We were operating under the umbrella of the Health Point Project, a United Kingdom-based medical charity organization.

Greece Government Slows Refugee Assistance
Upon our arrival to Greece, the local government decided to expel NGOs (non-governmental organizations) from operations, and it became illegal to provide any type of assistance to refugees including giving them food or physical assistance. The exception was with Doctors Without Borders that operated often with one physician during daylight hours at Moria detention center, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that mainly provided transportation bus services from the beaches to Moria detention center for documentation processing of the refugees.

Helping People Disembark from Rafts
Our group lost valuable days because of the government regulation, but during this time, I registered as a dentist on the island. We spent our days on the beach, at a camp established by a Swedish NGO called Lighthouse Refugee Relief. Alongside the Greek coast guard and an organization of Spanish lifeguards from Barcelona, we helped people disembark the inflatable rafts used to cross the strait between Lesbos and Turkey.

Clothes, Blankets, Food
& Urgent Care
At the Lighthouse camp, I provided translating services (Levantine Arabic for the Syrians and Persian for the Afghans), and our group provided the refugees with a change of clothes, warming tents and blankets, hot tea, soup and other food. There was also a clinic set up in a small trailer where we removed a cast from the broken leg of a Syrian boy (he was hit by a car two months prior in Turkey) and saw other urgent care cases.

One night we heard commotion outside of the house where we were staying next to a beach and a large raft of about 50 Afghan refugees (men, women and children) landed on the shore next to the house.

The people were wet and hypothermic, so we quickly ushered them into the house, offered them some of our clothes, and gave them whatever food and hot drinks we had. We called International Rescue Committee that had a nearby camp and fleet of vans to come pick up the people and transport them to their camp, where UNHCR buses could then take them to Moria.

Covert Trips into Guarded Former Prison
Moria is a former prison, heavily guarded by armed police and surrounded by barbed wire fences. By breaking off into small groups of two to three and operating in the middle of the night, we were able to sneak in multiple times, whether crawling under fences, or past a sleepy guard while his back was turned. We often pretended to be refugees by taking off our scrubs and the women in the group put on headscarves.

Treating Patients in Secret
Finally, there was a negotiation between the government and Health Point Project and we were allowed to return to the medical tent outside the walls of Moria in an area nicknamed “Afghan Hill.” The agreement allowed us to provide diagnosing and consultation services, but nothing more. As healthcare providers, we decided that the humanitarian necessity of medical treatment superseded government laws, so we treated patients and spread the word of our existence among the refugees.

Caring for the Sick
My sub-team consisted of me, a physician from Utah and a nurse from Washington. Once we entered, we asked where families and children were located since we gave them priority. They were inside bunkers, which we entered, and introduced ourselves. We soon found ourselves inundated with many children with coughs, sore throats, fevers, runny noses, and some adolescents and adults with toothaches, muscle fatigue, starvation, dehydration, and hypothermia. We spent hours performing exams and dispensing vitamins, rehydration salts, antibiotics, cough lozenges, pain relievers and acetaminophen.

Those with toothaches, I escorted back to the tent on Afghan Hill, where a previous dentist from the UK set up a makeshift dental operatory, where I could perform extractions and dispense medications. By the time we built momentum, patients started coming to see us in the tent rather than us having to sneak into Moria to see patients. I translated as often as I could for the physicians and nurses, and in addition to extractions and draining abscesses, I was able to distribute toothbrushes and toothpaste, apply fluoride varnish, and offer oral hygiene instructions. Before I knew it, it was time to return to the USA.

When All is Lost
The Syrian and Afghan refugees were obviously fleeing war zones and had lost loved ones and worldly possessions, whereas migrants were “piggy-backing” off of the refugee situation and came from countries such as Morocco (they flew to Turkey as tourists), Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh. Afghans were reported being on the road, often walking with toddlers, for almost a month and crossing the rugged, snowy mountains of Kurdistan on the Iran-Turkey border.

Syrians lost relatives and real estate and were the most panicked and emotional of the groups we encountered. The European Union is granting residency status to Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, while most everyone else is being turned away or deported at the Greece-Macedonia border. Once they enter Macedonia, their journey is not even halfway finished. They still need to traverse the Balkans before they arrive at their destination, the most popular one being Germany. Along the way, it is reported by Hurriyet Daily News of Turkey that as many as 10,000 migrant children have become separated from their families and are victims of human trafficking.

A Positive Change for People in Crisis
I wish I could have stayed longer and I feel I have not done enough—that what I’ve done is a drop in the bucket. But I realize that small drop may have been enough to make a positive change in the lives of a few individuals, and I’m convincing myself that makes it worthwhile.

Chief Complaints: Headaches & Small Teeth

By Rhys Spoor, DDS, FAGD
Accredited Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
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This case shows an example of using a conservative restorative approach to get a big change in the function and aesthetics for this patient. Her chief complaint was two-fold: daily headaches and small teeth. Clinically she exhibited significant wear, especially in the anterior area, a compressed vertical opening, multiple diastemata anteriorly, chipped incisal edges, a darker shade and one less than adequate restoration on #19. Additionally, she was fearful of the whole dental process from when she had #19 placed years before and extremely self-conscious of the appearance of her teeth.

Patient Goal: A Nice-Looking Smile
At first, all we did was replace #19 with a bonded ceramic crown with a little triazolam and local anesthesia. The experience allowed her to begin to trust she would be OK to get through the rest of a process to get what she really wanted which was a nice-looking smile. Using the concept of form follows function, the need to gain more vertical height became apparent and meant the amount of tooth reduction to restoratively treat this case would be minimal. We established a final occlusal position using TENS (trans electronic neuro stimulation) and did an intraoral mock-up from a diagnostic wax-up at that position.

No More Headaches and Happy Patient
The maxillary arch was prepared first and an acrylic overlay was placed on the lower arch during the transition. While the final maxillary restorations were fabricated, we had time to access and correct any negative functional issues. The time to fine-tune the occlusion and the aesthetic acceptance is during this phase because it is a lot easier to adjust acrylic than it is to adjust the final ceramic.

We found that her daily headaches ceased, and she really liked the aesthetics. During her first night home with the provisionals, she sent us an email that said, “When I looked in the mirror, for the first time in my life, I thought of myself as pretty.” That is always very satisfying to hear from any patient.

Second Phase Goes Smoothly
We seated the final restorations in the maxillary arch against the mandibular overlay and, one week later, prepared the mandibular arch. Since most of the functional and aesthetic issues were resolved during the first provisional phase, the second phase went smoothly.

Met Goals of ImprovedFunction & Aesthetics
with Conservative Solution
The final result accomplished our mutual goals of improved function and aesthetics with a very conservative restorative solution.

Dr. Rhys Spoor is a 1983 graduate of the University of Washington where he was an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry for 10 years. He is an Accredited Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Dental Implant Association and the Pierre Fauchard Society. He is also an Editorial Reviewer for the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Spoor maintains a private practice in Seattle in aesthetic, implant and restorative dentistry. He may be contacted at

Take Home Pay – How You Can Easily Earn Extra Money in Your Pocket

By Shannon Woodburn, Burkhart Account Manager


Kuna Dental is a fun and energetic practice nestled in the corn fields of Kuna, Idaho. Dr. Doug Croft is a hard working “teddy bear” who put himself through dental school by earning money driving gas tankers to finance his education before starting dental school at the “non-traditional” age of 27. He is extremely involved in the local community and started a very successful practice almost 20 years ago. As his practice expanded, he built a beautiful new building where it could grow. Dr. Dan Haws, an avid cyclist and meticulous dentist practicing in Southern California, relocated his immediate family to be closer to relatives and joined the thriving practice at Kuna Dental in 2014.

Impressed with Burkhart Staff
Dr. Croft wanted to work with Burkhart as his staff was impressed with the people that made up Burkhart. They said that Robert Fogleman was integral in their decision to give Burkhart a try as he provided phenomenal service and they had a great relationship with him as their “fix it” guy. Burkhart Regional Sales Manager Derek Johnson was very thorough, and Kuna Dental decided to do business with these exceptional people.

Significant Savings Achieved Through Supply Saving Guarantee
Dr. Croft likes the Supply Savings Guarantee (SSG) and says, “It’s nice to have the extra money in my pocket…kind of like the cream on the top!” He said money doesn’t make his life spin, but it sure never hurts to have some extra money lying around, and Burkhart has given him that option by the significant savings his office has achieved since starting the SSG Program. He appreciates the fantastic customer service he receives from Burkhart and the fact that they take an interest in his business.

Quarterly Review Identifies Supply Overhead Percentage
His Burkhart Account Manager, Shannon Woodburn, performs a quarterly review to go over his numbers, evaluate what is going well and then make suggestions on what could be even better. This review helps him keep abreast of his supply overhead percentage and how to continuously improve and get it lower. He enjoys the graphs that put a visual on the trends in his practice and shows accountability for what is happening with his supplies.

The goal is to hit a specified percentage and often times the actual results are significantly lower than the established goal percentage that is being aimed for. He also appreciates that saving money never sacrifices quality. Jessica, his dental assistant, is integral in the partnership that ensures they never run out of anything, but also keeps a tight inventory so nothing is overstocked and wasting precious resources by just resting on the shelf for months.

Making Life Easier
Burkhart helps make life easier at Kuna Dental by taking the worry off the doctor’s shoulders regarding supply decisions. He has confidence knowing that his Burkhart Account Manager is looking out for his best interests at all times. This helps to simplify his practice and give him more free time.

Savings Allows Practice Investments That Make Business Profitable
The Supply Savings Guarantee Program has helped to save money. This allows for extra cash flow to invest in the practice on new handpieces or other important equipment that makes the business profitable and keeps it running smoothly.

A Great Team
Jessica has formed a great team with the Burkhart account manager to maintain the perfect level of inventory, swap out products that are more cost-beneficial yet offer the same quality for a better price, and maximize the amount of free products they have access to without compromising their desired products as dental professionals.

Continuing Education Programs Keep Staff Informed
Burkhart continually offers continuing education programs on hot topics and new offerings to keep them informed of the many changing options in the dental world. They work well with the staff and are great problem-solvers by anticipating what the office needs to continue their financial success.

Just Do It
If any dentist is considering the SSG Program, Dr. Croft advises them of the popular slogan to “Just do it!” It’s a better way to eliminate the “heartburn” of trying to plow the road on your own, when you have people with experience who can make your life much easier and free up your time.

In Her Dreams

By: Cheryl Wika, photos by Dave Davis_dmd_5433-full

Providing the highest quality patient care for children of all ages and those with special needs is the key to success for Caitlin Barnes, DDS. Personal connections with her patients and exceptional care utilizing the most advanced technology has allowed Dr. Barnes to create a special niche for this Alaskan community.

Q. Would you share a little about your education as well as the journey that lead you to where you are today?
A. I grew up in Newport News, Virginia and was the first in my family to pursue a career in dentistry. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University for both college and dental school, enjoying my time there very much. The itch to travel enticed me to visit Alaska for an externship during my third year of dental school, and at that point I completely fell in love with the state. Following graduation I was offered a position as a general dentist in Barrow, Alaska, an area unique for being the northernmost city in the United States and also one of the largest Alaska Native communities. Barrow is known as “the land of the midnight sun” in the summertime, and also for its majestic northern lights during the long winters. I came to love the culture and beauty of this remote community, and during my time there also realized how much I enjoyed working with children as my patients. This is what inspired me to go on to complete a pediatric residency at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Over the course of the next few years, I finished my residency, had many Alaskan adventures, and decided to call Anchorage my home.

Q. How long were you practicing before you decided to open your
own practice?
A. I have been practicing dentistry for nine years, the last five of which were as an associate in private practice. I reached a turning point when having a family of my own. I felt that if I was going to be away from my family, I wanted to be doing something that I felt passionate about. I’ve been lucky enough to take all the positive things I’ve learned from my previous opportunities in dentistry and apply them here. Starting this office has been a dream of mine for some time, and it has been so rewarding to see that dream finally become a reality.

Q. Was there an inspiration for how you wanted the practice to look and feel?
A. Absolutely! Alaska is such a beautiful place that it was easy to feel inspired. From glaciers to mountains to wildlife, there are so many aspects of where we live that I wanted to incorporate into the design of the practice. I especially wanted to showcase the aurora theme, as the northern lights are so uniquely Alaskan. From a practical standpoint, I also wanted my office to meet the needs of every patient from infant to teenager. In addition, we are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and welcome patients with special needs.

Q. How did you get started with this project?
A. Partnering with Burkhart, my vision was to design an office that would maximize treatment space while maintaining a private, comfortable feel for patients and their families. In addition to an open hygiene bay, my priority was to incorporate two “quiet” treatment operatories based on each patient’s unique needs, with a third “quiet” operatory that could be built out at a later date. Burkhart meticulously designed my office space, offering several layouts which incorporated all the details I envisioned. A very important feature that Burkhart assisted with was an efficient office flow. I felt it was imperative to create a separate entrance and exit in order to be conscientious of patient privacy. After several revisions, Burkhart assisted me with an optimal plan that helped turn my vision into reality. Anchorage Burkhart Equipment Specialist Louis Ullrich and Account Manager Arne Valdez carefully attended to every detail, creating the perfect space. I couldn’t be more pleased with the end result!

Q. How would you best describe your treatment philosophy?
A. I want every patient to feel comfortable and confident about their teeth. I strive to provide the highest quality patient care as well as an overall positive experience for every patient. I am excited to build long-lasting relationships with the families in my practice. I love hearing about baseball games, dance recitals and family vacations. What I enjoy most about being a pediatric dentist is watching every child grow up and truly being a part of that process.

Q. What advice would you give to a doctor who is building a new office?
A. The most important aspect of a dental office is location. We are adjacent to two pediatric offices in a hospital setting. We make it convenient for parents to bring their children to the dentist. Find a location that works for you and go from there.

The second most important aspect is identifying how many providers the space should accommodate. This determines the size of the office and appropriate number of operatories required. In addition, plan for success with the possibility to expand. Having room to grow is of the utmost importance.

Third, stick to a budget. When planning a build-out and purchasing dental equipment, prioritize the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves.” As the practice gains momentum, there will be opportunities to purchase equipment or incorporate design features that may have been out of reach at the start.

Last but not least, it is crucial to surround yourself with a successful team. The team at Burkhart made my practice start-up easy and streamlined. Louis Ullrich (Burkhart Equipment Specialist), Arne Valdez (Burkhart Account Manager) and Cheryl Wika (Burkhart Account Manager) have been extremely accessible throughout the entire process, and I couldn’t have asked for better service. Thank you Burkhart!


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