Your First Step in Designing Your New Dental Office

Posted by HJT Design

Smiling dentist in his new office.

To increase your percentage of success in taking on the designing of your dental office, whether it be a renovation for an existing office, a build-out for a new start-up, or building from the ground up with a new building design, the very first step is to define a road map to help guide you to achieving your objectives. The road map is known as The Master Plan.

The Master Plan provides general outlines defining your practice’s culture, branding, type of practice and treatments and future growth projections.

Things to include in The Master Plan are: Your Vision and Spatial Needs

Your Vision

Who else but you has the insight into the vision you have for your practice?

Knowing what type of practice you want to have, what specialty will be part of your practice and how big is too big will help you to be more focused on setting and achieving your short term goals, while planning for your long term goals. Will your brand be a sophisticated boutique FFS practice, a laid-back homey practice with hot cookies, or a modern minimalistic green practice?

All the above questions relating to your visions for your practice need to be answered with some level of detail or at least in a big-picture theory, for your project team, to work toward.

Sample questions to assist in defining your visions:

· Will your office be a solo dentist practice or a group practice with associates/ partners?

· Will you lease and build out or own the real estate and build new?

· What type of practice and treatments will you offer?

· Will your practice be a general dentistry office or with specialists office?

Spatial Needs

Spatial needs are determined based around your vision’s short-term and long-term needs. If you own the real estate and the building is a standalone structure, planning for your spatial requirements will be easier and more predictable versus being in a commercial condo, retail facility or commercial/ medical office building.

Think and plan for the big picture so to minimize or avoid the needs to redo as the practice grows. Either the design can be done with the individual spaces sized for future uses or designed with flexibilities for future renovation/expansion to meet future uses. This will drive the direction for allocating the overall spatial needs.

In addition to using the design ratio of square feet per treatment room, other considerations may also influence, either decreasing or increasing, which may include special amenities and co-joining uses. In general, and simplistic manner, spatial needs for a dental practice are calculated by using the design ratio per ops multiplied by the number of treatment rooms the practice needs or what you are planning to ultimately have. It’s also important to know your possibilities and limitations relating to your wants, needs, and must haves. This will ensure accommodations and or negotiations can be achieved.

Clinical areas are where all the production happens to generate and produce revenue for the practice, so it warrants the extra time and attention to getting it all right. Listed are typical areas within the clinical area:

· Treatment rooms… design and size to your personal preference and clinical treatment.

· Sterilizations & Lab… design and size to support the total number of treatment rooms the practice will have.

· Imaging Alcove

Business & Public areas, aside from clinical area, are where patients have access to and should be designed and sized for functionality and aesthetic. Listed are typical areas within the Business & Public areas:

· Reception (Check-in and Check-out)

· Patient Lounge…Legislation may change or affect how we design a patient’s lounge and what amenities may be included in it, which may affect allowable seating counts.

· Consult Room… this is also another personal preference space which can serve as a multi-purpose use space to present big-ticket case presentations (if not presented chair-side), patient’s money issues (if not in Office Manager’s office)

· Public Restrooms (per code and ADA compliant)

· Circulation… corridor width should be comfortably sized for two persons to walk side by side and not too wide/ narrow making it awkward. Controlling or managing patient’s circulation using dedicated ingress and egress corridors may be a consideration for minimizing transfer or spreading of pathogens.

Staff Areas though are not the practice’s revenue generating real estate, it also deserves some investments for creature comfort and morale boosting. Listed are typical areas within the Staff areas:

· Staff Lounge…to be design and sized to meet intended use be it for morning huddle and or training.

· Staff Rest Room…mainly for staff convenience and dedicated for only staff use. May need to be ADA compliant or adaptable. A little extra counter space is gold.

· Locker Room… if space allows, otherwise a locker area would be nice for staff to lockup their personal belongings.

· Lactation Room…many dental staff (dentists included) are women at children bearing years, having a private space to pump or to rest is Godsend. The Lactation Room can also be used for emergency nursery/ daycare when staff needs it. This is a space that clients have requested to be included in the design of their offices.

Having a well-defined master plan will help you and the project team focus on what is important and point out how to meet your immediate objectives while anticipating and planning for your future goals. Consult with your trusted business advisers along with an experienced design professional/architect to assist you in formulating and defining the master plan as your first step in designing your new dental office.

Why Choose HJT

Your dental office is a direct representation of you, the dentist, and your visions. It’s important that it reflects you and the quality of care you provide to your patients. We welcome the opportunity to bring your visions to light through insightful designs that meet your clinical requirements and aesthetic criteria while optimizing efficiency and functionality for your practice’s everyday needs.

With our years of collective knowledge and experience we have a deep understanding of the functionality and unique needs within the dental industry. We invite you to contact HJT (866) 213-1268 to start the dialogue regarding a plan for your current or new office and how we can implement your unique visions. We look forward to talking with you soon.