Th 329467

Multilevel, multispecialty, multitalented office of the future

Nov. 1, 2009
When I graduated from Ohio State University in 1991, I joined several other family members in the health–care profession.
The main reception area, with a 1,200–gallon saltwater aquarium.
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For more on this topic, go to and search using the following key words: Dr. Michael Florman, continuing education, orthodontics, office design.

When I graduated from Ohio State University in 1991, I joined several other family members in the health–care profession. My grandfather was a Cleveland general dentist, an uncle was an orthodontist, and my father was a pharmacist. My brother, Dr. Mark Florman, graduated along with me, and together we moved back to our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and opened up a new family general practice in Eastlake, Ohio.

While working right out of school, I soon realized that there was a large amount of drug information that I needed at my fingertips, which was not readily available. I found myself making numerous phone calls to my father, who worked at a local pharmacy. One evening, after I had phoned several times during the day requesting information about prescribing various medications, my father came home from work and sat down with me. He started writing down all the combinations of medicaments prescribed by dentists and gave me the list to take to work.

This invaluable list gave me the idea of publishing a quick reference guide for dental prescription drugs, now known as the Dental Therapeutic Digest (the little green book). My dream, which eventually became a reality, was a compilation of the dental drug information needed by dentists and dental hygienists to reference during practice. I also hoped that it would be paid for by drug manufacturers and available to the profession for free. My first advertiser in the publication was Tom Schulstad, founder of HealthFirst Corporation. If it were not for Tom's sponsoring the first edition, my dream would never have materialized. Tom acquired and maintains the back page advertisement position to this day!

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In 1993, my single book publishing company began offering continuing dental education to the profession using the drug information as content. The Academy of Dental Therapeutics and Stomatology was founded with help from two of my best friends from dental school, Dr. Richard Adelstein (Cleveland) and Dr. Greg Rosecrans (Bay City, Mich.). Responding to requests from test participants for other content such as education on radiology, pathology, dental materials, etc., the INEEDCE brand was created, and began to publish continuing dental education courses on a variety of topics.

In 2001, my quest for higher education and fulfilling a lifetime dream of becoming an orthodontist led me to return to dental school at New York University, where I earned a certificate in orthodontics. After graduating, I moved to California and took over my uncle, Dr. Sanford Aaronson's practice in Santa Monica.

Floor 1 (left), Floor 2 (center), Floor 3 (right)
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During my first year in California, I realized that I wanted to dedicate all my time to writing CE courses and orthodontic patient care. This decision led me to hand over the operations of the company to a business executive working in the dental field. In January of 2004, I partnered with Aldo Eagle, which allowed the business to flourish while freeing up my time to pursue my passion for writing, teaching, and practicing orthodontics. In 2006, the company was purchased by PennWell Publishing, which now, along with Aldo, carries on the tradition of INEEDCE.

I was then able to expand my orthodontic practice by opening a second location in West Los Angeles and joining forces with a fellow orthodontic classmate, Dr. Dunia Gailani. This new space was built with growth in mind. My new vision included the need for dental space that could house my practice, a lecture facility, and space to develop and innovate new dental technologies for both myself and the industry.

To help fund such a facility, I looked to the medical model and created a multispecialty facility that houses all the dental specialties. Costs associated with a large facility are shared among dental specialists, which include orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, and periodontics.

I highly recommend this medical model to all dentists who are looking to remodel their offices, purchase buildings, or negotiate on new dental office space. There are many advantages to sharing space rather than going it alone! Sharing common dental staffing positions allows for more efficiency, while making it affordable to hire more qualified personnel who can focus on single job descriptions. Sharing of common areas such as the staff lounge, reception area, rest rooms, radiology, and the laboratory makes great sense. Sharing operatories lowers overhead by never having chairs sit empty.

From left to right, Maria Tesoro (office manager), Imelda Abiera (RDA), Hayley Morgan (scheduling coordinator), Chi Dionisio (RDA), Lisa Le (treatment coordinator), Vanessa Garcia (RDA).
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Equipment upgrades can happen sooner, keeping your office state–of–the–art. This makes practicing more enjoyable and becomes important when you decide to sell your practice. Out–of–date equipment has little to no value to a young buyer. Also, purchasing real estate becomes easier when teaming up with fellow colleagues, and eliminates the fear that you can lose your lease when entering your 50s, a time when you should be debt–free and saving for retirement.

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The West Los Angeles facility is made up of three floors. The first floor houses the main reception area, with a 1,200– gallon saltwater aquarium which allows patients to see into the six–chair orthodontic operatory, a large consultation room used by all doctors, and a radiology area with a digital pan/ceph machine. There are also two private operatories which allow for more private environments.

On the second floor, nine more private treatment rooms are connected by two additional reception areas, each on opposite sides of the building, connected by the first floor's main reception area. Pediatric patients enjoy a jungle themed reception area while adults relax in a modern living room. On the third floor, glass enclosed offices and a lecture hall overlook the two reception areas below. Next to the lecture hall, a full kitchen is shared by all doctors and staff during work hours, and doubles as a catering kitchen for the lecture events.

My life would be much different had I not sought out good business partners and had a support system of caring staff, family, and friends on whom I could rely. Along with them, I was able to fulfill my dreams.

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