Pain-free dentistry...for the dentist.

Unfortunately, your dentist can now keep you in the chair longer-bad news for patients, but great news for dentists!

As most dentists know, leaning over patients all day can be more painful than an extraction. But thanks to the new Dental AbChair™, designed by Texas-based Neutral Posture, Inc., dentists now have access to a chair that converts from a backrest into a "frontrest".

"The concept of the AbChair™ is pretty simple," explains Mark Benden, VP of Engineering for Neutral Posture. "We made a stool that will adjust to fit the dentist-not the other way around."

The stool version features a height-adjustable footring, while the chair version allows users to put their feet firmly on the floor, depending on the task. And each product features numerous adjustments, including multiple controls for the seat and AbRest™ (the rotating pillow is offset, to allow four different support positions, and the pillow's support bar features a smooth pivot action and cam-lock height adjustment).

The AbChair™, and its companion product the AbStool™, may sound like workout equipment you'd find at your local health club, but they're actually state-of-the-art ergonomic furniture you'll soon find in offices, design studios, medical laboratories, and even industrial environments.

From eye surgeons hovering over a patient to lab workers leaning over a microscope, back injuries are on the rise, and cumulative trauma is one of the key contributors. Contrary to popular belief, back injuries don't necessarily occur from a single incidence-for instance, bending over and picking up a heavy object. Rather, back injuries are the result of repetitive motions, bad postures, and seated pressures over the course of months or even years.

"We have actually developed a couple of different versions of the AbStool™," Benden says. "We have a larger version for traditional offices and users who want a larger seat pan. But dentist's typically need a chair with a small 'footprint', so it takes up less space. So the seat pan on the dental version is four inches smaller than our standard seat, giving it an overall footprint of 22 inches" (compared to a 28-inch footprint for the standard AbStool™ and AbChair™).

Benden also says dentists can choose easy-to-clean vinyl upholstery. Every dental version of the AbStool™ comes with a black urethane AbRest™ that can be easily wiped down and disinfected.

Dr. Jerome Congleton, Certified Professional Ergonomist with Texas A&M University's School of Rural Public Health, is the inventor of the AbStool™. Congleton says it was developed to provide both flexibility and ease of adjustment for seated workers who specifically use stools.

"Obviously back support is a must," he explains, "but what people don't usually realize is that for assembly work, microscope use, electronic soldering, and a whole host of other tasks, the employee simply must bend over their work. That requires a high degree of abdominal support from either your back muscles or our chair - your choice."

The dental version retails for about $775 in basic black, or $875 for a chrome version. So for the price of a few fillings, dentists can save something more important than cash: their backs.