Dr. Blaes: Jeff, you’re in a very upbeat mood these days. Tell me what’s going on in your dental world.
Dr. Dalin: At the end of 2012, I moved into a new office. It has turned out great! Our new surroundings are gorgeous and state-of-the-art. It makes going to work something to look forward to each day. What’s more, it was actually a pleasure, and not a chore, to design and build out the new place.
Dr. Blaes: I know a lot of dentists who would love to build a new office but are nervous and intimidated by the process. How did you handle this?
Dr. Dalin: I know the thought of designing and building a new office can seem overwhelming. Many dentists would love to move into something new, but they’re afraid of the process. This should not be the case. I did this in a very simple way, and I would love to share what I did with the readers of Dental Economics.
It was basically a one-call process. Let me walk you through how I did this. The first step was finding a space to build out. I looked around and found what I thought would be the perfect location. I have wall-to-wall windows on the outside of the space with east and north exposure (keeps the afternoon heat down). Next, it was time to design things. To tell you the truth, I’m one who likes to play around with a blank space and lay out an office; however, this particular space had some support beams that were in my way. So I was hitting a "wall" with the design. I called my Henry Schein rep, who put me in touch with one of the Schein architect/designers. I already had some ideas sketched out. I also had a wish list of what I wanted to have on the final plans. After receiving this information, this person was able to sketch a first draft. I made two or three additional suggestions and, believe it or not, we had a final draft that perfectly fit my vision. It was that simple. Architect/designers are great at laying out a dental office once they know what the space looks like and what you want.
Dr. Blaes: It sounds like things moved quickly for you at that point. What happened next?
Dr. Dalin: Next, it was time to decide about equipment. In order for more detailed plans to be drawn up, one must have an idea of what equipment will be used. I had done some focus group work with Midmark Dental. I liked what the company was doing, so I thought I would talk with them. When I started investigating things more closely, I realized that I could get most everything from this one company -- chair, LED overhead light, delivery system, operatory cabinetry, sterilizer, sterilization cabinetry, X-ray units (Midmark owns Progeny), stools, compressor, and vacuum.
The more I thought about this, the better I liked the concept. Why deal with a half dozen companies when I could take care of the entire office at one place? Once I made this decision, I had the Midmark architect/designer work with the Schein architect/designer to draw up more detailed plans. They sent these plans to a Missouri-licensed architect so they could be finalized under Missouri building code.
Dr. Blaes: How did everything progress from there?
Dr. Dalin:: The contractor and decorator took the plans and did the build-out. People from Schein then came in at the end and installed the dental equipment. By having everything come from just one manufacturer, we had no problem having everything at the office ready to go when it was time for equipment installation.
Dr. Blaes: No wonder you’re in a great mood. It sounds like you have not regretted one bit your decision to build new.
Dr. Dalin: It is a great feeling when you walk into a newly designed and built dental office. It looks great, and everything works at top efficiency. So many dentists want to move because their equipment is outdated and not working well. The office is just worn out, and too much time is wasted trying to repair things. But they feel trapped. They feel that taking on a project like this is too difficult.
This process -- from finding a space to designing a layout to choosing equipment to watching it being built to moving in -- is a great, reenergizing experience. No dentist should be afraid of taking on this challenge. Discovering that I could do this with basically one phone call should illustrate how nonthreatening this can be.
Dr. Blaes: I hope our readers are catching on to your enthusiasm.
Dr. Dalin: I have yet to mention one of the best benefits of a new office. We’re now in our third month here. My new-patient total for the month is the best monthly total I’ve ever had, by a long shot. My existing patients are "wowed" by the new surroundings. This has caused them to become enthusiastic referrers of new patients. How’s that for an added benefit?
Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, FADI, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He is a cofounder of the Give Kids A Smile program. Contact Dr. Dalin at email@example.com.
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