How to select the most durable and cleanable dental office reception seating

November 9, 2020

As a dentist, making patients feel comfortable at your practice is crucial. Know that while the furniture you select can reflect the vibe of a home, it should not be a residential grade dining room chair. 

Commercial grade furniture provides durability that is designed specifically for high-traffic locations. Conversely, residential grade furniture found at retailer will not hold up under pressure.  

  • If laminate or wood, the armrests or legs will start delaminating and may even break. 
  • If pleather, the furniture may start to peel and if fabric, will definitely show wear and tear.  

Visitors will likely not treat it with the care they demonstrate in their homes, and before long, if not commercial grade, your office furniture will tell a tale of woe. A living or dining room chair is not meant to support 20 to 30 people on a daily basis, especially for time periods of up to eight to 10 hours. Commercial, health care grade furniture, though, is created specifically for that purpose.  

But is commercial grade guaranteed to last? 

Reputable manufacturers of commercial grade furniture for the health care environment provide substantial warranties. A warranty of high caliber should cover almost everything, except intentional damage. Look for specifics. For instance, Herman Miller offers a 12-year warranty. 

If the price seems too good to be true, it likely is. Commercial health grade is more expensive for good reason. In a health care setting, furniture must withstand frequent wiping and cleaning with EPA-approved disinfectants 

Also, there’s no guesswork about which products can be used to clean commercial health grade furniture. The manufacturer will provide a care guide with clear instructions that will also be available digitally.  

Which furnishings should dental practiceavoid? 

  • Residential grade furniture.
  • Plush seating.   
  • Wooden chair legs and arms. Their porous material will not hold up to use. 

 Which furnishings are recommended? 

  • Commercial health-grade furniture.
  • Vinyl. Very easy to clean, stain resistant and antimicrobial. Ideal for reception area. Available with texture, sheen.
    Chairs generally include metal with polyurethane leg and arm caps that won’t scratch the floor. And thanks to sturdy metal construction, your chair should last beyond its 12-year warranty.  In year 15, if boredom sets in, a new color is just one removable and changeable vinyl seat cover away.
  • Siliconebased vinyl. Slightly more expensive than traditional vinylbut provides a lush presentation.  

>>Insider Tips: 

Create automatic distance. The back legs of a chair should be angled out to prevent the chair back from scuffing the wall.   

Mind the gap. Look for chairs with a gap between the back and seat to avoid a regular collection of dust and crumbs. 

Don’t knock wood completely.Side tables and coffee tables can be commercial grade wood or plastic because they are not cleaned as frequently as other pieces of furniture. Also, if you prefer chairs that feature wood legs and arms, be sure to select those that feature polyurethane arm caps. This feature protects the spot on the chair most vulnerable to cross contamination. 

Prefer the feel of fabric? Chairs can include multiple finishes, for instance vinyl on the seat, fabric on the back ( Example shown above, courtesy Herman Miller). Ensure the fabric is Crypton coated, which is stain and spill-resistant to both water and oil-based blemishes. Crypton, the only fabric that is EPA-approved for disinfection, also offers the assurance of antimicrobial and stain-resistant technology that is permanently bonded for the life of the fabric.