The Surgilift(TM) Surgical Dental Table and its Application in Dentistry

As procedures and capabilities in practice have become more complex, practitioners have found a greater need for much better organization clinically. Those that manage to control complexity best have a much easier time integrating new technology and thus are able to handle a wider array of procedures with ease.

The Problem: You need everything … and the kitchen sink

A patient is scheduled for endo, extraction, bone graft, implant placement, and two crowns under intravenous sedation. Nice treatment plan, right? You need to be prepared for all of it, which requires access to everything and the kitchen sink – not to mention power! But we can’t treat our patients on Stretch Armstrong logistics. For those Millennial docs, Stretch was a large, gel- filled action figure toy introduced in the 1970’s. His arms could stretch for days. For my generation, I know you know what I’m talking about.

Now let me focus on your team. The setup and breakdown for complex dentistry is stressful for the people responsible for making sure you have everything you need when you need it. And let’s face it, oftentimes it takes two or three team members to prepare your dental operatory.

The Solution: Ergonomic Products Surgilift™ Dental Table

Surgilift with dental patientI often get asked, “What can I do to improve ergonomics?” This question is often followed up with something like, “What can I do to improve ergonomics when performing multiple, complex dental procedures in one appointment?” It’s a reasonable question with a simple, and logical answer. Seek to adapt work and working conditions to suit the abilities of the worker. But in dentistry, there simply hasn’t been a good solution, until the recent launch of the SurgiLift, the first powered, height-adjustable, multi-procedure, surgical dental delivery table.

Surgilift mobile with doctor and patientFirst, full disclosure. I work as the Director of Clinical Training for Design Ergonomics (a.k.a., Desergo), a company founded by Dr. David Ahearn, that Designs, Equips, and Trains the nation’s top dental offices. And this post is about a product designed and manufactured by Desergo’s sister company, Ergonomic Products. So, I might be biased about my thoughts here. But … that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. I simply love what I do to help our clients deliver great dentistry every day. And the SurgiLift is an absolute game-changer for multiple, complex dental procedures.

Dr. Ahearn, and his Research and Development team in Fall River, Massachusetts, create the best dental equipment on the planet and hold a stack of patents for their innovations. They’re like a bunch of mad scientists who also understand the unique challenges of dentistry. The R&D team at Desergo connects with dentists around the country to understand their practice challenges, and then brainstorms to find the most efficient, lean solutions to whatever problem is at hand. The team might start product development with pen and paper, a 3d resin model, or a cardboard cutout, but where they end up is always amazing. And their shared work helps make dentists more productive, efficient, and healthy.

I spoke with Dr. Ahearn recently about his team’s development of the SurgiLift.

A.B.: “Surgical tables have been used in the medical field for many years. What makes SurgiLift different, and how will it change how dentists work?”

Surgilift mobile with doctorDr. A.: “The Ergonomic Products SurgiLift is the world’s first smart surgical table. And by “smart” I don’t mean connected to the Internet like with a TV. I’m talking about a product that was designed to serve dentists in the ways they work, and think, when they do multiple, complex procedures.

Surgical tables have been used in both medicine and dentistry very successfully for a long period of time, primarily by specialists. However, these are basically dumb, stainless steel tables with a noisy handcrank for height adjustment. They’re overly expensive, especially for how little they accomplish, and they were designed for dental delivery thirty years ago, for surgeons to stage their forceps, elevators, etc. They weren’t designed for the modern procedures that we do today, requiring sedation monitors, implant drivers, and a wide array of small, easily displaceable parts all needed within fingertip range.

Early on in development, my team knew that dentists needed integrated power for the instruments required for complex procedures. And with that, it became a relatively simple decision to also power the SurgiLift so that it could easily be raised and lowered with the push of a button.

For handpieces, we applied the same thought process and attention to detail that we put into our Dental Workstations. We have the most sophisticated solid-surface machining facility in the industry, and it became pretty obvious that we could, as with our Workstations, add a massive amount of value by machining the SurgiLift work surface in solid Corian, which allowed us to mill in utility recesses, cable management and handpiece holders. Milled Corian is a beautiful surface, and way less noisy than stainless steel.

A.B.: “You’ve mentioned to me before that the Research & Development process can lead to outcomes that are very positive, but perhaps not front-of-mind in the initial creation of a product. Was there anything like this with the development of SurgiLift?”

Dr. A.: “My goals for SurgiLift were primarily speed and labor reduction for multiple, complex dental procedures. The goals were tied to a concept I’ve talked about a lot – You Can’t Use What You Can’t Reach. And in making delivery faster by keeping everything at the operator’s fingertips, we also created much greater operator comfort and ease of use. But this was really something that was a byproduct of a great design. The motivation for that design was that I was seeing too many offices tying up their most skilled team members in surgeries where they should not have been required. We’re finding that, with the SurgiLift, dentists can nearly double surgical speed, with improved organization, AND far greater operator comfort”

It was great to have some time with Dr. Ahearn to talk about the SurgiLift. For me, the SurgiLift is another example of the shortest route between two points on a map being “as the crow flies”. With the Surgilift, you will take the shortest route to get instruments and supplies for multiple, complex procedures, without wasting time and energy along the way. We call this, efficiency. Wishing you all have a healthy and productive 2022.

To learn a little more about Dr. Ahearn’s 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 Easier playlist on YouTube at:

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Author Angie Bachman