How To Reduce Noise Between Dental Treatment Rooms

Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, founder and president of Design Ergonomics

By Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, Founder and President of Design Ergonomics

Depending on your patient’s level of apprehension, the sounds of a dental office can range from distracting to terrifying. Controlling how sound travels is critical to patient comfort – and a relaxed patient is easier to work on, and is more likely to accept treatment. To reduce sound traveling between rooms, we avoid locating rooms across from each other in a manner that complements the overall organization and workflow of the dental office.

The design at Norco Family Dental greatly reduces sound attenuation between treatment rooms.

Dental treatment room alignment shouldn’t channel noise across rooms

Treatment rooms can be arranged along corridors or facing non-clinical areas – rather than other treatment rooms – while still maintaining a smooth, consolidated flow. If rooms must oppose one another, we create isolation for them, generally with doors.

Opposite the treatment rooms at Turlock Dental Care is a space for mobile deployment of technology wherever needed.

Some examples – bad and good

A traditional approach that fails to bring the best benefits possible, by missing opportunities or creating bottlenecks & disorganization, versus…
Design Ergonomics plans that are geared to optimize practice efficiency and enhance the patient, staff, and doctor’s experience

Both Examples “A1” and “A2” below present significant issues with sound attenuation (control & reduction). Placing dual entry headwall operatories directly across from one another will channel a large amount of sound including clinical sounds and conversations.

Even rooms on adjacent corners, as in Example “A2” below, or facing long hallways, will create paths for direct sound travel.

To better control sound, Example “B” below places most operatory openings across from a corridor wall, or non-clinical space. Where opposing rooms were required (far left end), doors were included. This mitigates sound attenuation, and creates a private suite for surgical, sedation, etc.


For more inspiration, take a look at our recent dental office design work. If you have any questions, please reach out to my team at Design Ergonomics.

Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, founder and president of Design Ergonomics
Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, Founder and President of Design Ergonomics and Ergonomic Products. To learn a little more about my journey in dentistry, and other principles you can apply to make your practice a fun, easy, and productive place to work, take a look at our This Can All Be Easierplaylist on YouTube. If you enjoy these videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel at Turn on notifications to receive our latest video updates.