It is my pleasure to introduce the winner of the Dental Office Design Competition 2007 New Dentist Division, Dr. Michael A. Mazaheri of Gilbert, Ariz. This annual competition is sponsored by Matsco, Dental Economics®, and ADA Member AdvantageSM. Dr. Mazaheri graduated from Ohio State University School of Dentistry in 2003 and completed his new office in December 2006.
Dr. Blaes: You have accomplished a lot in three short years. Tell me about your philosophy of practice.
Dr. Mazaheri: My practice philosophy has always been to create a comfortable environment that is warm and welcoming not only to my patients, but also to me and my staff. I have tried to create an environment that reflects the quality of the dental care that we provide and also offers different amenities in order to reduce anxiety for many of our nervous patients. My goal was to create a dental office that did not look like a dental office! This was achieved by selecting warm material finish colors, with a unique design and careful selection of dental equipment.
Dr. Blaes: You certainly have a unique floor plan for your office. I don’t think I have ever seen one quite like it. I know that the contest judges felt the same way.
Dr. Mazaheri: I designed my practice to mainly operate on an “island” philosophy. The flow of staff and patients is smooth with the island design. Patients can be escorted to enter and exit the treatment areas either from the check-in or check-out areas depending on the traffic and staff flow. The sterilization center is conveniently located to any of the treatment areas.
Dr. Blaes: What led you to this unique design and the use of an aquarium?
Dr. Mazaheri: As long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with salt water aquariums. I received my bachelor’s in zoology from Ohio State University with interests in marine biology. When I decided to build my dental office, I knew that I had to have the underwater life somehow incorporated into my practice. My goal was to have a design that allows me and the staff to enjoy the fish tank every day from every angle. The idea was to place a large salt water aquarium in the center and design the practice around the tank. This idea has become reality with our cube aquarium that is visible from all four sides – reception and three treatment rooms.
Dr. Blaes: Besides this unique design and the beautiful aquarium, you seem to have incorporated a lot of dental technology into your new office.
Dr. Mazaheri: I have always been a technology freak and I could not prevent myself from incorporating as much technology as possible into my practice. We operate a paperless practice with a digital pan, a digital sensor used mainly for endodontic images, and a ScanX phosphor plate system used for all other individual X-ray needs.
Our practice is set up with the Dentrix practice management system with its integrated image program, voice activated periodontal charting, and voice activated notes dictation. I find that having the charting and images integrated into one patient file is much more efficient. It gives a cleaner look than having several different software brands with a bridge for patient image and charting storage.
I have set up our computer server with a removable “Hot Swap” hard drive backup system. This design allows me to create a duplicate server computer at home as a backup and allows me to access my records from home quicker than over an Internet remote computer connection. In case of a total server failure or malfunction, the duplicate server, which has the same exact specs, and the daily backup of the latest server files would be replaced with the office server until the primary server is repaired.
In each treatment room, we have incorporated the Dental Chair Potato patient monitor and dental light. With this system, we have integrated a satellite signal that allows patients access to more than 250 channels of TV, movies, radio, and music programming. Patients can also bring their favorite DVDs and movies to enjoy during their treatment. This amenity has allowed our patients to reduce anxiety and feel right at home in the treatment room.
Dr. Blaes: You are to be congratulated with the well thought out integration of technology into your office. Your equipment fits the office so well that it seems to be custom designed.
Dr. Mazaheri: Careful selection of specific dental equipment was very important in our overall design project with high esthetics and function in mind. From the material finishes to specific features such as back massage dental chairs, an A-dec sterilization center, and a mobile dental X-ray unit, all help everything come together. I have often been asked about my reason for having a mobile dental X-ray rather than a traditional fixed wall-mounted unit. My design philosophy has always been to have a clean look. This was the main reason I chose to have a mobile unit. I should mention that I did plan for a possible future expansion with ceiling mounted X-ray tube heads from the 12 o’clock ceiling wall in each of our operatories in case we ever need to do so. Our A-dec sterilization center is probably the most efficient area of our facility. It consists of a clean area and a dirty area designated by red and blue lights with air pneumatic-activated storage doors.
Our treatment rooms are plumbed for nitrous oxide, and they have a digital flowmeter integrated into the 12 o’clock cabinets. The digital flowmeters will print the nitrous/oxygen concentration and duration at the completion of the visit, thus eliminating any confusion as to the actual concentration of the gas administered.
Dr. Blaes: How have you planned for future expansion?
Dr. Mazaheri: The office was designed with possible future expansion in mind. The office is plumbed for a total of five treatment rooms. One of those rooms is currently utilized as a staff break room. In a situation where the need for a fifth treatment room arises, the break room can easily be equipped with dental equipment and the consultation room can be transformed to a staff lounge.
Dr. Blaes: You certainly have a wonderful office, and I am sure you are proud of your award. What has the reaction of your patients been to the new office?
Dr. Mazaheri: As I mentioned in the beginning, my philosophy was to create an environment that is warm and welcoming for our patients. Many of our patients have a pleasant experience and feel very relaxed. Our fish tank has also helped many of our child patients have a great experience on their first dental visit. We all get to quiz the kids on their favorite “Nemo” fish!
Editor’s Note: ADA Member AdvantageSM is a service mark of the American Dental Association. ADA Member Advantage is a program brought to you by ADA Business Enterprises, a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Dental Association.