dental patient headrest positioning

The occlusal plane, the imaginary plane that is formed by the occlusal surfaces of a person’s teeth when they close their jaw, is well known to anyone who has studied dentistry. But did you know that its importance extends beyond dental treatment? It helps with more than giving a patient a straight, pleasant smile. It can also help prevent musculoskeletal pain in dentists and hygienists who are tasked with working on patients for long hours throughout the day. 

But how? 

Why the Occlusal Plane Matters?

Patient positioning is vitally important for dentists. It not only helps patients remain still and comfortable during treatment, it also allows operators to maintain proper posture while they treat. The occlusal plane plays a large role in patient positioning, and controlling it is something that every dental clinician should learn in order to protect themselves from a developing musculoskeletal pain in the future. 

The optimal angle for the occlusal plane during treatment is 20-25 degrees behind the vertical. This will allow the mouth to open wide enough to give dentists and hygienists access to every area of the patient’s mouth, especially the hard to reach teeth located in the back of the mandible and maxilla. Normally, reaching these teeth requires dentists and hygienists to lean forward and/or twist themselves into an uncomfortable position during treatment, leading to inevitable musculoskeletal pain. If the proper position of the occlusal pain is maintained, this issue becomes much more manageable. 

There’s One Problem with This

It’s not very comfortable for a patient to stay in a position where their occlusal plane is 20-25 degrees behind the vertical. While dental chairs with double articulating headrests make it possible for a patient to be positioned in this way, they generally struggle to maintain it, especially if the procedure or cleaning is taking longer than a few minutes. This discomfort, especially for those who suffer from dental anxiety, is enough to cause patients to complain. In the worst-case scenario, they will not want to return to a practice that forces them to keep their head in this position. 

The Solution

Maintaining this position of the occlusal plane should be a priority for dentists and hygienists who want to remain pain free throughout their career, but they don’t have to anger their patients or ruin their practice in doing so. There is a simple product that makes holding this position easy and comfortable for patients no matter which type of dental chair they are seated in. 

Dental headrests, particularly our Crescent Products Low-Profile Headrest, which is designed specifically for use in dental chairs with double articulating headrests, can help patients maintain the proper positioning during treatment. They allow you to perfectly control the position of the occlusal plane and work comfortably all day long. 


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Crescent Bodyrest System

SKU 0 - DPXXK - Bodyrest
In stock
Product Details

“Adding this relatively small addition was noticed by every patient and they invariably verbalized their satisfaction and improved comfort in the chair.”

—Dental Cosmetic Surgeon, CA

“Many patients felt they were in a spa[while they reclined on the Crescent Bodyrest System]!”

—Dentist, IL

The Crescent Bodyrest System consists of four memory foam pads, all working together to align patients for their maximum comfort as well as create perfect ergonomic positioning of the patient to reduce strain for you and your hygienists. Memory foam extends the full length of the Bodyrest pad to conform to the patient’s body and provide pressure point relief as it fills voids in spaces between patient and dental chair. The Headrest supports the patient’s neck and the slope of the cushion allows her or his head to gently tilt backwards and for the jaw to naturally turn up in an open-forward position. The Backrest supports the patient’s lumbar region. And, the Knee Support comfortably lifts the knees and works in conjunction with the Backrest to release additional pressure from the patient’s back and hips. All pads help stabilize and align the patient in the chair and are made with medical-grade material and easily wipe clean with common disinfectants. Available in seven colors.

Full Length Bodyrest Chair Pad (56” x 20” x 1-1/2”)
Headrest (7 ½” x 4” x 6”)
Backrest Pad (11” x 3 ½” x 7 ½”)
Knee Support Pad (16” x 6” x 10 3/4”)

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