Iowa Dentist Experiences Dramatic Growth in New, Larger Office

Clay & Associates DDS, PLC - Fort Dodge, Iowa | John Clay, DDS

Exerior picture of Clay & Associates DDS, PLCSome things are worth the wait…at least it appears that way for Dr. John Clay. Ten years after buying a commercial lot to build a new dental office in the city of Fort Dodge, Iowa, he finally broke ground. Completed in February 2016, the 5,000 square-foot office is bright, uplifting, and filled with state-of-the-art technology and design, just like he always imagined. In just two years, thanks to the striking design, upgraded equipment, and an aggressive marketing plan, the practice has doubled its staff; added an associate, Dr. Shaun O’Neill; gone from 1,300 active patients to 3,200; grown from 25 new patients each month to 90; and more than doubled production. In addition, because of the more spacious clinical area and the reputation he’s achieved through high-touch care, Dr. Clay has been able to add new services, including implants and cosmetic procedures like Botox® and Dermafill.

Landlocked Office Inside Hospital Prevented Expansion

Dr. Clay has always owned his own practice, buying one from a retiring dentist when he was fresh out of dental school. The office was inside a local hospital and was only 1,175 square feet with three operatories. Although it gave the young doctor a good launching point to begin his career, because it was landlocked inside the building, he didn’t have space to expand. He converted his personal office to a fourth operatory and did the best he could, but the cramped quarters led him to begin seriously planning to build a standalone office on a lot he had purchased 10 years earlier. In addition, he was about to turn 40, and that milestone made him consider how he wanted to spend the remainder of his working years.

Clay & Associates DDS, PLC reception area is designed with sedate colors and tradition, rich furniture to give the room a class and timless look.

The practice design is classic and timeless, with sedate colors and traditional, rich furniture; the exterior brick is carried through from the exterior. Patient information can be accessed through Dentrix practice management at the front desk during check-in. Dr. Clay also relies on the system’s detailed reporting to monitor the health of the practice.

“We were really busting at the seams in my first office,” confirms Dr. Clay. “I realized I had reached my potential in the space that I had. My vision was always to bring on an associate, and I just didn’t have the space to do that. So, I had to make a decision: either continue down the path I was on or take the leap and go after my dream.”

Dr. Clay uses the DEXIS CariVu to detect caries and cracks in a patient's tooth.

Radiation free, Dr. Clay uses the DEXIS CariVu device to detect caries and cracks in a patient’s tooth.

Fort Dodge was also experiencing an upswing in its economy, with several large companies opening, so the timing seemed to align with the doctor’s plan. Dr. Clay reached out to Brett Drea, his Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant, and told him it was time! Mr. Drea brought in several partners, from a trusted contractor to a banker, to launch the project. He also introduced Dr. Clay to Jason Helkenn, a Henry Schein Equipment & Technology Specialist.

Once the team was together, they traveled to a seminar on practice design and took a VIP tour of Pelton & Crane’s factory.

Pelton & Crane chairs were chosen for the dental operatories, along with Renaissance cabinets.

With a patient-centric practice model, it’s no surprise the doctor selected Pelton & Crane 3300 chairs with the massage feature, as well as sleek
Renaissance cabinetry. The integration of the KaVo electric handpiece and ACTEON Piezo scaler keep everything within arm’s reach.

“Over the course of the next several months, many meetings were held with my team to make sure all the pieces were in place to move forward,” says
Dr. Clay. “Once they were, it was really a turnkey operation, which was fantastic because it allowed me to continue working and not get bogged down with the day-to-day operations that were happening throughout the process.”

Classic, Timeless Design

Visually, the doctor wanted the office to cater to the patient in every way and be timeless in its style. It also needed to be beautiful, but durable, withstanding a busy patient flow.

The sterilization center is customized from Pelton & Crane, outfitted with the best possible equipment, including Midmark M11 sterilizers.

The doctor liked the Pelton & Crane line and chose a customized solution from the company for the sterilization room. Outfitted with the best possible equipment, including Midmark M11s and a VistaPure water system, the large room can easily handle the office’s busy patient volume with efficiency and safety.

From the exterior, this classic, rich style is evident. With brick and sage-green siding and white pillars out front, it looks welcoming and warm. The brick is carried into the reception area with a feature wall that also hosts a large television monitor. Chairs are simple, with rich upholstery and leather, and the colors are neutral tan and cream. A children’s area with miniature-sized chairs and a table along with a cheerful geometric pattern on the wall provides even the youngest patients with a comfortable place to wait for their appointment.

The carpeting gives way to simulated wood tiles in the 10 equipped treatment rooms that line the exterior of the practice. With a separate entrance and exit separated by a 12 o’clock cabinet, the treatment rooms are open, but also private.

“I met with Jason, and we came up with an equipment list that coincided with my vision for the practice,” explains Dr. Clay. “I went with Pelton & Crane cabinetry, chairs, and delivery systems. The selling point for me was the chairs; I wanted a chair that had a massaging feature to provide an extra source of comfort for our patients.”

Patients love to review their X-rays on the 46-inch TV displayed on a wall in the consultation room.The operatories have KaVo integrated TLC electric motors and ACTEON piezo scalers, and they also use the DEXIS CariVu caries detection device and Digital Doc intraoral cameras. Dr. Clay’s digital-imaging capabilities received a turbocharge with the addition of the KaVo OP 3D cone beam and ceph imaging system. He displays the highly detailed images on a 46” monitor in his consultation room, to his patients’ amazement.

“Patients are impressed when they see their cone beam images on a TV that size,” says Dr. Clay. “It has greatly improved patient acceptance with our implant cases.”

One area of growth for Dr. Clay was buying the KaVo OP 3D Pro for his 2D/3D X-ray technology needs.

The KaVo OP 3D Pro was a dramatic upgrade to the doctor’s digital imaging capabilities. Displayed on a 46" TV in the consultation room, the 3D X-rays are impressive and patients are amazed when they view them.

Henry Schein TechCentral designed and installed the computer networking system, along with
Mr. Helkenn, as well as the phone system, interconnecting each piece of technology together with Dentrix for maximum productivity and accessibility throughout the practice.

“Switching to Dentrix has brought many efficiencies to our office, particularly in our ability to pull reports and gauge the health of the office,” states Dr. Clay. “Existing technologies that came with us integrated seamlessly, particularly our digital sensors.”

High Staff Morale and Patient Satisfaction

Mr. Helkenn is proud of Henry Schein’s part in bringing the doctor’s dream office to completion and how the equipment has eliminated so many workarounds the doctor was forced to do in his previous office. With newfound efficiencies in treatment and in the sterilization area, it has freed up the doctor and his team to focus on maximizing the application of the new diagnostic tools they have, such as the 3D cone beam, so patients can receive more detailed information.

“It (the new office) has increased staff morale tenfold,” admits Dr. Clay. “The office we were in before was dark and depressing—now it’s fun to come to work! Patients love it as well. We usually get several comments a day on how much they appreciate it and enjoy coming.”

“Don’t be afraid to take on the risk,” Dr. Clay affirms. “The key is surrounding yourself with a solid team that wants to work toward the same goal.” ♦

Doctor and Henry Schein portrait.

From Left to Right: Jason Helkenn, Equipment and Technology Specialist; Brett Drea, Field Sales Consultant;
Dr. Shaun O’Neill; Dr. John Clay; Ben Breitigam, Regional Manager; Paul Fountas, Lead Service Technician.

This article was originally published in Sidekick Magazine.