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The old adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is a perfect description for the importance of expert, diligent attention to detail at the planning stage of a dental surgery fit-out.

Why? Because decisions made now can impact the look, flow and work of your dental practice later.

Thankfully, the art of specialist dental clinic design is well established in the UK and follows established principles already proven to ‘design in’ factors like patient experience, colleague ergonomics and equipment installation requirements from the very start. This is especially vital because some decisions made during planning can’t be reversed later.

Keep reading to discover some essential insights to consider while you’re planning your dream practice. 

Refurbishing or Launching Your Practice? Read This First

We asked our dental fitout specialists for the must-see tips they’d want everyone with practice changes ahead to see:

1. Find The RIGHT Architect, Not Just Any Architect

The fitting, location and connected infrastructure for some dental equipment follows set compliance guidelines. Discovering that a design isn’t ‘up to code’ is way too late when cabinets have been fitted and flooring has been laid.

Expert dental architects keep one eye on the practicalities, and technical demands, of a modern dental practice and will seek to prevent issues rather than cause conflicts between design and ‘real world’ practice necessities later.

For example, our specialists often see drawings by general architects where insufficient room has been given for a dental chair as the chair hasn’t been given enough room to extend and hasn’t been placed the required distance from other items. The result? The chair looks fine in the drawing but in real life it either wouldn’t work or would be too tight in the space for comfortable, efficient use.

Tip: Ask for details of an architect’s experience with dental projects.

2. Disruption Can Be Managed, But Not Entirely Removed

Any fit-out project, whether it’s for a new practice or part of a refurbishment, is a major piece of work.

Giving yourself the time, budget and space to let the project unfold will avoid stress later. Yes, disruption can be controlled to a large degree but 100% ‘business as usual’ may not be possible for every project and is best avoided as a goal for major projects.

Tip: Look for a fit-out partner, or a dental fit-out expert, who’ll work out of hours to reduce impact on any existing practice.

3. Buy Once, Buy Well

Because the alternative is, of course, to ‘buy cheap, buy twice’!

A fit-out is an opportunity to invest in equipment capable of delivering years of reliable service. Stretching to the latest technology and standards will mean you start out ahead of the curve and can concentrate on simply running your practice, not wasting time troubleshooting issues or dealing with problems caused by dated equipment, for a long time to come.

Tip: We recommend a fixed price service plan to make the working time ‘cost of ownership’ for equipment more efficient than ever.

4. ‘Spend a Day’ In Your Designs!

A rushed practice layout is something many dentists have regretted later! Taking the time – and we mean a lot of time – to walk through your practice plans, ideally with a dental design specialist,  can reveal some changes you wouldn’t have spotted otherwise.

What do we mean by this? Once you have some visuals for your practice, imagining your client’s journey from arrival to treatment to exit as they move through each space can tell you what’s right and what’s wrong with your plans. The same applies of course to simulating your colleagues’ day in the practice.

Tip: A great design will take the details of HOW time is spent in your practice into consideration and will want to perfect these at the planning stage.

5. Location, Location, Location

For dentists launching a practice at a new location, every minute spent researching the area means more opportunity to not just understand the demographics of the area (stopping at this stage is a common error!) but also map out the behaviour of potential patients in the area.

This means understanding where your target population live, work, shop and move around the area then considering the building’s travel and accessibility factors to find the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of how a visit fits into their daily routine.

Tip: Our Picking a Squat Dental Practice Location blog features a deeper dive into the essentials of practice location.

Questions? Simply ask a Global Dental Practice Growth Consultant. We’re here to help.

Creating Your Dream Dental Practice: Where to Find Help

Global Dental’s work is powerfully simple: helping ambitious dentists deliver their practice plans, especially making their dream practice become a reality, by simply ‘making it happen’ so the dentist client can concentrate on running their practice.

This specialist service includes initial consultations, complete refurbishment project management and ongoing support including consumables and equipment supply/ maintenance.

We’re happy to help dentists at the very early stages of their new practice planning and can offer expert insights and help with finding and assessing an ideal location.

For inspiration, explore must-see dental practice fit out case studies here then contact us for help to visualise, plan and execute the fit-out you’ve always wanted for your practice. Remember: it’s never too early to call!

See Also: What Happens When You Upgrade to a Well-Designed Dental Practice?, Essential Case Study: An Elegant Blend of Old and New

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