Multiple Screens in a Dental Operatory – How to set up for Increased Case Acceptance and Patient Entertainment

 How to set up Multiple Screens in a Dental Operatory

In the previous post on operatory design, I talked about how to think in terms of output and value when designing your dental operatory.

In this post I’ll get into details of how to actually set up multiple screens in a dental operatory, including the cabling, the equipment (monitors, cables, Google ChromeCast, mounts, etc), prices and where you can buy the stuff from.

Similar to how you thought about dental operatory design, when you’re thinking about where to place your multiple monitors,  let’s again think in terms of our goals.

If you haven’t read through the post on dental operatory design, you may want to refer to it first and then come back to this later.

Here’s how I broke down my goals when I was setting up multiple screens in my operatories:

  1. Show Intra-oral photos / xrays / treatment plan to patient for case presentation
  2. Patient Entertainment on the ceiling TV through Netflix / Hulu
  3. Doctor and the Clinical Assistant’s ability to view the schedule

Let’s dive right in!

1. Show Intra-oral photos / xrays / treatment plan to patient for case presentation:

Goal: Increase case-acceptance with patients.

This is done by placing a monitor in FRONT of the patient – either left or the right wall of the dental operatory.

If case presentation is to be done in the dental operatory, then it should be done without having the patient turn around to see the monitor behind them.

When you take a photo with the intra-oral camera, for example, it’s immediately seen by the patient right in front of them on the second monitor.

Having this set up in the dental operatory adds transparency to the entire process of treatment planning and presenting.

After I’ve gone over clinical findings and xrays with the patient, I would start charting on the computer (behind the patient) – at the same time the patient can see what I’m charting on the monitor in front of them.

As I’m charting, I’m not saying “#3MOD, #4 PFM crown” – I say it in terms the patient understands.

I’ve already explained to the patient during a face-to-face conversation our recommended treatment.

Now as I’m charting,  I reinforce my recommendations. Instead of saying #3MOD, I simply state the necessary treatment like so: “replacing the large silver filling with a white filling on the upper right on tooth #3, porcelain crown on the upper right tooth“.

At the same time, the patient is watching on the monitor front of them the corresponding teeth getting highlighted in color to indicate the necessary treatment.

Why is this so important?

By involving the patient in every phase of the treatment plan, you build trust and value with the patient. This will ultimately increase the likelihood of the patient accepting your recommended treatment.

2. Patient Entertainment on the ceiling TV through Netflix / Hulu:


  1. Add to the “wow” factor of the office
  2. Distract pediatric patients with their favorite cartoons so they can keep their mouth open without moving around.
  3. Reduce anxiety for patients undergoing longer procedures

To put a monitor on the ceiling, you’ll need a LCD TV / or another computer monitor with proper inputs. You’ll also need a ceiling mount.

As I’ve mentioned before in the post on Operatory Design, you’ll need backing on the ceiling to support the weight of the mount and the monitor to make sure it doesn’t drop on your patient.

Because I had this multiple screen setup planned prior to having the construction completed, I had ordered all the mounts that I needed. I had the contractor install those for me on the ceiling as well as the side wall mounts in all the operatories I started with.

Make sure you have a power supply on the ceiling also to run a power cable to the monitors.

Continue reading to refer to all the equipment you need for the set up.

3. Doctor and Clinical Assistant’s ability to view the schedule:

The doctor and the clinical assistant should be able to access the appointment book right from where they’re sitting.

This is accomplished by putting a monitor behind the patient on the counter at 12’o clock position.

Multiple screen setup for Dental Operatory

This set up will also allow for instant access to the internet via a browser (Chrome preferably), so videos through Netflix / Hulu can be cast to the ceiling monitor via Google Chromecast device.

From this computer, the doctor and/or the chair-side assistant can pull up patient xrays, so they can be shown to the patient right in front of them without having them turn around (right wall monitor).

I also utilize the computer behind the patient for communicating with the front desk via a messaging app for teams like Slack (at I will get into the topic of intra-office communication in a future post.

Equipment Details:

1. Main PC / Laptop for the operatory:

Must have a dual video output (DVI / VGA / HDMI) for replicating a duplicate view on the side wall monitor. So make sure to get a PC/laptop that has a dual video output Video card.

From your CPU, for example, if you decide to utilize the DVI output, then the DVI cable is connected from the CPU to the main monitor behind the patient.

Multiple Monitor Set up in Dental Operatory
Behind the Patient Computer Monitor Set up (left) | Close up of behind the CPU with a Dual Display Video Card (Right)

The second output, let’s assume it’s VGA – then a VGA cable will connect the CPU to the side wall monitor with a VGA input.

Second Monitor for Patient for Dual Monitor Set up in Dental Operatory
Close up of Dual input slots (DVI and VGA) on a Second Monitor on the Wall – Front of the Patient

Here’s the back of the second monitor showing the mounting of the monitor on the wall:

Dual Display Monitor Mounting via Wall mount in a Dental Operatory
Right wall monitor mount

Please refer to the large diagram of the entire setup below.

You’ll definitely need a longer wire for connecting the CPU behind the patient to the monitor on the side wall, since the cables will be run to the ceiling and within the walls. Which cable you need (VGA or DVI or HDMI) will depend on which output you utilize from your PC.

Again, since I had my set up planned in advance, I had my contractor run these cables for me during the construction phase.

2. Ceiling TV / Monitor:

This TV / Monitor must have an HDMI input for plugging in your Google Chromecast device.

Here’s a picture of mine: VIZIO E241-A1 24-inch 1080p 60Hz Razor LED HDTV (2013 Model)

Ceiling TV/Monitor for Dental Operatory

Look for best prices online. Here’s a link to it on Amazon:

I picked three of these up from Costco because at the time I was saving about $30/per monitor compared to buying it online.

Here’s what the back of it looks like. Must make sure it has HDMI and correct mount pattern for the type of ceiling mount you’ll need:

Ceiling TV Dental Operatory

Mounting a Ceiling TV in a Dental Operatory

3. Ceiling Mount:

Ceiling Mount for Multiple Screen Set up for Dental Operatory

Full-Motion Wall Mount Bracket (Max 66 lbs, 13 – 27 inch), Product # 4564 from for $7.99

Best place to buy mounts and cables online is Monoprice. You’ll find all you need there.

There are alternative options when it comes to ceiling mounts. I’ve listed the two most commonly used below.

There’s no right or wrong choice here, it all depends on your preference. For me, the price was the major factor – I was able to get everything I needed for patients to be able to watch TV on the ceiling while they’re reclined by spending $7.99 for the mount and about $100 for the screen.

Alternative Options for Ceiling Mount:

Ceiling arm for ceiling monitor in a Dental Operatory
Image source:

Product link:, Price: $119.95 (mounting arm only)

Another alternative from ICW Dental:

ICW Arm for Mounting Monitor in a Dental Operatory
Image source:

Product link $757 (mounting arm only)

4. Wall monitor:

Should have either a HDMI / VGA / DVI input depending on what your main computer outputs are. The circle below points to the VESA mounting holes, which should be compatible with the mount you buy. This is the picture of the back of the monitor that I use.

Patient Monitor for Dental Xrays for Dental Operatory

I bought this on Amazon for $110. Search for it on Amazon: “AOC e2460Sd 24-Inch Widescreen LED-Lit Monitor, Full HD 1080p, 5ms, 20M:1 DCR, VGA/DVI, VESA

5. Wall mount:

Wall Mount for Multiple monitor setup in a Dental Operatory

Full-Motion Wall Mount Bracket (Max 44 lbs, 23 – 42 inch), Product # 8100 from for $16

6. Google Chromecast:

You’ll need one for each operatory.

Google Chromecast for Patient Entertainment in a Dental Operatory

Alternative is to use Apple TV ($100), but that’s probably overkill. Chromecast is cheaper at $35 and it does the job of casting Netflix/Hulu.

7. Get a USB Hub if you’re running out of USB inputs on your computer (optional).

8. A USB Wi-Fi Adapter (optional)

USB Wifi Card for Patient Entertainment in Dental Operatory

If you’re using an older computer as the main operatory computer, you may not have a wireless adapter built into your computer to connect to your wi-fi network. You can work around this by buying a USB wi-fi adapter like the one I have in the picture above.

Once you have this installed and plugged in, you can start casting onto Google Chromecast on the ceiling.

Here’s a drawing of how I’ve set up the multiple monitors in my Dental Operatory:

Sketch for Multiple screen set up in a dental operatory

Closing remarks:

The multiple screen setup in a dental operatory can be achieved in a bunch of different ways depending on what you’re using.

My set up that I’ve discussed here is fairly simple and inexpensive. As every year passes by, new gadgets are introduced into the market. There’s already a second generation of Google ChromeCast devices that are available.

With new devices and all-in one PCs that are available, you may be able to get rid of the cabling that I have in my operatory.

My goal with this post was to get you thinking about what you can achieve with a multiple screen set up in a dental operatory. Just remember not to go overboard with gadgets and think of the return on investment for each item you buy.

Don’t forget to share the post with your colleagues, and if you’ve thought about a different set up, I’d love to hear from you!

Leave your comments & questions below and continue to tune in!