Most people visit the dentist on the go, and don’t have the option to schedule the first appointment of the day. When traveling from the office, there’s no time to stop home and give the teeth the 2 minute treatment, and many patients find themselves brushing and freshening up in the waiting room restroom. They’re likely not looking for elegance, but they are aware of cleanliness. When the bathroom isn’t clean it sets the tone for the rest of the patient’s visit. They might come in wondering, “What else is clean, should I be letting my hygienist anywhere near my mouth? What can I touch in the waiting area?” These questions only add to the anxiety of going to the dentist. The bathroom is the handshake of the dental office, if it’s a dead fish or smells like dead fish, patients won’t feel comfortable the remainder of the visit knowing the rest of the office might not be clean. Keep the bathroom sanitary and not only will you reassure your patients, but you will give them a good impression before shaking their hand.
Color is an important element in any professional space. It not only sets the mood, but is an outward expression of the practice that you have built around you. Take it from Dr. Thi Hoang who built her dream practice in Livermore, California. “Our new office creates a soothing and calm atmosphere. Instead of the typical white, sterile dental practice, it’s filled with cool greys and yellows that bring out pops of color. The glass windows bring in the perfect amount of sunshine, and they also allow beautiful views of the hills.” Not every practice needs to feature a rainbow of colors, but the trick is to use color intentionally, keeping in mind the surrounding area, the local culture, the mood you’re hoping to set and ultimately the most comfortable setting for your patients.
Whether it be in the waiting room or in the operatory, patients are going to notice windows and lighting. This doesn’t mean changing windows around, or redesigning an office - the simple solution is using light in a strategic way. Even if there is only one window in the office, make the most of it. When reimagining an eco-friendly dental office design for his practice in Surf City, North Carolina, Dr. Matthew Parr wanted to create an environment that captured the mood of the beach front property and used the abundance of light to his advantage.
One of the strongest features of the office design are the windows and use of natural light. The article summarizes, “Plentiful recessed lighting and dormer windows bring light into [Surf City Dental] and add architectural interest. Full floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a comfortable front porch giving patients and staff a comfortable place to relax, complete with rocking chairs.” The simple fix is this: using natural light as a way to bring life into the practice can be as easy as opening the blinds.