A well designed and welcoming dental practice is crucial for both the comfort of your patients and the efficient running of your business.
Whether you have a long-established practice or have recently acquired an existing dental business whose surgeries need sprucing up, a degree of updating and modernisation is to be anticipated one day.
And time and technology march on and ‘wait for no man’, so at some point you’re going to reach the inevitable conclusion that it’s time to refurbish your dental practice.
Dental practice refurbishment not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your clinic, but also presents you with the opportunity of adopting new or advanced technology which contributes to creating an improved patient experience and ultimately better patient outcomes.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about refurbishing your dental practice, with a focus on optimising space and creating a modern and functional environment for you, your staff and your patients.
1. Understanding the Importance of Dental Practice Refurbishment
Why should I consider refurbishing my dental practice?
With time and the constant wear and tear of patients visiting your practice, you may find that your décor and furnishings start to look a little tired. In addition, technology and workflows move on, maybe even to the point where your diagnostic equipment and set up may be out of date and limiting the clinical services you offer. Health and Safety requirements also change over time, so ensuring compliance is a constant consideration.
The impact of surgery design on patient experience
In addition to updating the look of your dental surgery, refurbishment will also give you the opportunity to review the design and workflows of your practice.
A well-designed practice has a direct effect on patient experience and patient experience has a direct effect on the reputation of your practice.
We know that many UK dental practices are established in former residential buildings, often over several floors, rather than purpose built surgeries, but that doesn’t stop a refurbishment project being able to optimise the (often limited) space available and encourage the most efficient workflows.
And we’d like to think we know a thing or two here ourselves about how to get the best out of the space you have. Over the last 20 years, we’ve helped a large number of dentists refurbish their practices of all shapes and sizes. Our expert designers and experienced project managers work seamlessly with you to refurbish your practice on time and on budget and are wholly cognisant of the fact that it is a working business.
We know that a modern and inviting clinic will enhance your patient satisfaction ratings and we can advise you on the best way to achieve it for your business.
More than just a lick of paint…
Whilst it’s easy to appreciate the aesthetic benefits of a quick lick of paint to freshen everything up, there is more going on here than meets the eye. Cracks, flaking paint and damaged areas not only look bad and set the wrong tone with your patients, but also have a potential impact on infection prevention and contamination control. And patients today are more informed and aware than ever of the importance of hygiene, so making sure surfaces and equipment are undamaged and easily cleaned and decontaminated is of paramount importance.
Adopting new technologies
A practice refurbishment is an ideal time to review what new or improved technologies are available and decide whether they will enhance your practice going forwards.
The rapid evolution of digital dentistry has enabled significant advances in diagnostics, enabled dentists to expand the range of clinical services they offer and oftentimes reduced the time the patient spends in the chair and the number of visits required to complete a course of treatment.
And whilst digital technologies are revolutionising patient treatment clinically, there are also other areas of practice management, such as improvements in IT systems and infrastructure, patient management software solutions and even decontamination records which all contribute to an enhanced patient experience, satisfaction and outcomes.
Compliance is key…
Dentistry is a highly regulated profession. And rightly so. A refurbishment project is an ideal time to review all regulatory requirements, to make sure that every aspect remains compliant with CQC requirements and Health & Safety regulations. If there are known new regulations on the horizon, it is also a prudent time to ensure compliance ahead of time, so future proofing your business and minimising any additional compliance costs for the future.
2. Planning Your Dental Practice Refurbishment
Successful planning is key to a successful outcome, so some time and consideration at this stage will pay dividends in the future.
Again, you might feel like you need a helping hand here. Blueprint Dental can give you options and assistance to achieve a newly updated practice for the 21st century.
Consider how both people and equipment move around your practice. Conduct a thorough evaluation of your existing clinic layout and equipment and identify areas that need improvement for optimal functionality.
Where are the bottlenecks and areas that cause you and your staff the most strife?
Is the infrastructure of your practice outdated?
It may well be that technology has the solution here for you to streamline your operations and ultimately improve your patients’ experience and your bottom line.
It is often said that the seven most expensive words in business are “We have always done it this way”, delaying dental professionals from adopting new technologies. Yes, it may be that it means stepping out of your comfort zone, but that, again, is where an experienced and knowledgeable dental equipment supplier is a must.
One of our great friends and customers, Dr Mukesh Soni, once said, “I never would have gone digital if it wasn’t for Blueprint.” (link to video)
Planning and budgeting go hand in hand when assessing how best to refurbish your practice. Creating a realistic, affordable budget will be another key element to the success of your project.
So, how are you going to finance your refurb?
Weigh up the differences in finance periods and the overall cost of lease purchase over buying equipment outright, speak to your accountant about applicable tax breaks and incentives available when investing in new capital equipment for your business.
When you need assistance with finance calculations and illustrations, simply let us know. We work closely with our highly reputable, experienced partners at Vector Finance, who have helped countless dental professionals finance their practice refurbishments.
And lastly setting a realistic and achievable timeline is a must. You will need to factor in lead times for trades people and equipment, as well as minimising disruption to your practice’s operations.
A full practice refurbishment is a time-consuming undertaking, so you may want to consider appointing a Project Manager. Assigning a dedicated Project Manager to you is all part of the total solutions service Blueprint Dental offers. The benefits of this are not to be underestimated. A professional Project Manager takes the stress out of managing all the different aspects of your project for you, freeing you up to ‘do your day job’. Our Project Managers will liaise with any builders and tradespeople, equipment suppliers and installation teams to ensure a seamless transition from old to new.
So, just a single point of contact for you.
One phone call, one email. We do the rest…
3.Designing Functional and Aesthetic Clinical Spaces
Once you’ve made an assessment of your current practice and have a vision of how you’d like it to be, it’s time to work with an architectural designer – ideally someone who specialises in dental practice refurbishment and understands the unique needs of a dental clinic.
Engage with someone who understands the importance of a patient-friendly environment, whose design ideas will maximise natural light and create a soothing atmosphere for anxious patients. But also someone who will incorporate your identity into your surgery, helping you to build your brand.
Again, teaming up with an expert Project Manager here will help. Our Project Managers have excellent, well-established collaborative relationships with architectural designers, working together and drawing on past experiences to get you the best possible solutions for your clinical and non-clinical spaces.
4. Upgrading Dental Equipment and Technology
Updating your practice presents you with an ideal opportunity to invest in the latest advancements in dental equipment.
The dental chair or treatment centre is often viewed as the focal point within the surgery for the patient and is the single piece of equipment about which the majority of your clinical time revolves. Today’s dental chairs and treatment centres incorporate many features which offer enhanced comfort to the patient and facilitate better clinical interactions for you, such as improved ergonomics, LED lighting chair mounted monitors and intra oral X-ray units.
Dental imaging has seen significant advancements in the last few years with the advent of digital dentistry. Refurbishing your practice is an ideal time to consider adopting new imaging workflows. There are efficiency benefits for you here as a practitioner, but embracing new digital technology also benefits your staff and patients.
For example, many practices are now implementing intraoral scanners which enable the acquisition of high quality, accurate intra oral scans, which can be sent directly to the dental laboratory electronically, doing away with the need for messy and uncomfortable impressions and lengthy transfer times. So, more time efficient and streamlined for you and definitely more comfortable for your patients.
Extra oral scanning has also taken a number of giant technological leaps in recent times. Is this the time to consider a 3D CBCT scanner, capitalising on the massive increase in diagnostic information you gain as a clinician? Not to mention the wow factor for your patients!
Maybe the time is not quite right and you’re not offering the services which require 3D imaging yet, but maybe you’d like to in the future. That’s OK too. Consider a 3D ready extra oral X-ray unit and convert it from 2D images to 3D images when the time’s right. These are all things to consider at the time of refurbishment, so you don’t get caught out in the future.
And what’s more, the beauty of all these digital technologies is that they can be integrated into one unbroken workflow, linking everything from a patient’s intra oral scan, to panoramic images to the instruments used when the patient is back in the chair for treatment.
And talking of instruments, you’d be amazed at what’s available in the world of decontamination and hygiene too. Dental steam sterilizers and autoclaves are now so much more than just ‘steam in a box’. Many are networkable, with built in scanners and integration with your practice management software for full instrument traceability.
5. Managing the Refurbishment Process
Designing, planning and specifying new equipment for your refurbishment project may take up some of your time, but have minimal effect on the day to day running of your business. However, once on-site works start any impact on the running of the practice and any health and safety implications must be dealt with.
Here again is where a dedicated Project Manager is worth their weight in gold. At this stage of the project their job is to co-ordinate and manage any building works and oversee the delivery, installation and commissioning (Link) of any new equipment, whilst minimising the disruption to your business.
Furthermore, they need to adhere to project timelines and that all-important budget.
For your part, it is essential to keep your team informed about what’s happening when and to communicate clearly with your patients to manage their expectations and provide any alternative arrangements which may be required during the renovation.
So, in summary, dental practice refurbishment is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, design expertise and commitment. By investing in the modernisation of your dental surgery, you not only enhance the overall patient experience but also contribute to the long-term success of your practice.
And with all the experience and expertise that we’ve built up over the last 20 years, we’d love to be part of your exciting development.
So why not take the first step towards revitalising your dental practice today and let us help you create a space that truly reflects the excellence of your dental care?
Call us today on 0800 228 9828 or email email@example.com or simply complete the form below.