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Yesterday was serendipitous. My temporary front tooth came off a few days ago and on yesterday’s episode of The Wellness Design Podcast, I ask Rhea the following important design question about the dentist’s office:

“Why do you think the operatory chair in the dentist treatment room is frequently positioned with its back to the door so that when patients lie down, they can’t see what’s going on?”

If you haven’t already guessed, this particular chair position is one of my favorite pet peeves.

Here’s the thing:

Research has shown that sitting with your back to a door releases the stress hormone cortisol, whereas sitting with a view of a door releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin.

And while I understand that many dentist treatment rooms are small, it’s still not a good enough reason for me to place it this way.

For those of you who think, “Well, it’s best if the patients can’t see what’s going on behind their backs,” that’s not the correct answer either.

Listen in to the episode to find out why dentists should re-think the position of the chair to help keep patient anxiety low and retention rates high:


Love from the operatory chair (I was in it for 3 hours just a few days ago),