How to design the dental practice of your dreams

May 14, 2015
Issue 5

Creating an appealing and functional dental practice will enhance your productivity, efficiency, patient relations and your overall well-being.

Creating an appealing and functional dental practice will enhance your productivity, efficiency, patient relations and your overall well-being.

Nothing says more about you than your office, and it’s crucial to evaluate what you want before starting the project.

First, examine the goals for your practice.

“People tell me they need more space so they can earn more money,” says Dr. Mark Tholen, a respected dentist and leading expert on dental office design. “But that can mean different things, depending on the dentist.”

Some providers want space to perform more complex dentistry, while others want to redesign the waiting room or a front desk for better efficiency.

It’s important to define your idea of success, and these goals will dictate certain design objectives including the number of operatories.

Providers also need to consider the message they want to send to patients.

Even though the project you are undertaking involves brick and mortar, furniture and art, technology and equipment, it is fundamentally an exercise in marketing.

Patients, especially new patients, will base your level of care on the quality of the office environment.

“Patients need to trust you’re capable of care,” says Tholen. “If providers’ dress or the physical space looks rundown, patients will question if you can take care of them.”

If you accept that your office design is, among other things, a communication tool, then it should be the personification of who you are as a provider.

“You have to have a physical plant that looks up to date, that’s organized and a part of modern thought and practice,” says Tholen.

To make patients comfortable, Tholen recommends investing in lighting, furniture and fixtures and your consultation room, while providers can create a comfortable space for themselves by designing the sterilization area for maximum efficiency an operatory with flexible rear delivery and fourhanded dentistry.

While money certainly matters, dentists should plan a facility that can handle growth.

“Most doctors undersize their new facility, and it’s mostly out of fear,” Tholen says.

Providers often don’t think about the number of operatories they’ll during the next 20 years, the average lifespan of an office.

In this ebook, we will highlight how to design your dream office based on your needs and budget, as well as how to assemble a design team so you don’t have to go it alone.

Click here to download the e-book "Defining your practice identity through office design."