Expanding High-Quality Care: Carolina Practice Feels Like Home


StephanieGray Hackney, DDS, PA – Wilmington, NC

Doctors build new offices for many different reasons. Sometimes, it is because of a lack of space or infra-structure for new technology. In Dr. StephanieGray Hackney’s case, her move to a new location in Wilmington, North Carolina was, indeed, motivated by expanding the space, but there was something much more pressing. Her existing office setup simply did not represent the quality of care and the personal attention she provided to patients in her general dentistry practice.

“It is really a branding story,” explained Henry Schein Director of Equipment & Technology Ryan Steck, who worked with Dr. Hackney on the move from her existing location to her new stand-alone one. “She was in a lease and did a great job getting the most out of that office. However, there was an opportunity to better align her facility with her brand. She is a first-class person and clinician with a great team, and now has a first class facility to match that.”

The reception area is casual, yet refined. With its animal print upholstery, serene brown tones and comfortable furnishings, it feels more like a home than a clinical setting.

Opportunity to Own Building Key Part of Decision to Build New Practice

The doctor’s old office was located in a strip mall and the owner was simply not interested in selling it. Dr. Hackney had to face a decision: lock into a new 10-year lease or head in another direction.

The six operatories are on one side of the treatment area within steps of one another and across the hall from the sterilization room, onsite lab, and the panoramic X-ray alcove.

“I was very happy in my previous office, but if I had to find something to label as a limitation, I would say I realized how inefficient the floor plan was and that cabinetry designs have changed,” she noted.

As she weighed the decision on what to do next, Equipment & Technology Specialist Aleida Mackey, her long-time Henry Schein Consultant, invited her to Pelton & Crane’s Driven to Excellence seminar. Over the course of two days, Dr. Hackney was able to explore many aspects of building a new structure and to learn best practices in dental office design and flow.

Dr. Hackney kept her technology up to date in her former location. Ms. Mackey helped the doctor equip that office when she first opened, guided her as she upgraded to digital imaging, and continued to offer her support when she expanded her space there. Once again, Ms. Mackey provided advice and resources as the doctor decided what she envisioned for her future.

“It was a four-hour drive from Wilmington to Charlotte for the seminar, so we had eight hours to discuss all aspects of moving forward,” recalled Ms. Mackey. “By the time we parted that Friday evening, Dr. Hackney was ready to proceed with designs.”

Wilmington is a fast-growing coastal city and home to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; the population is a mix of young urban families, young retirees, and it is, interestingly enough, influenced by the movie industry. The doctor found a highly visible site in a high-traffic area, just a mile from her existing site.

The walk-through Pelton & Crane steri-center is equipped with a Midmark M11 autclave.

“The feel is a unique combination of elegant and inviting,” agreed Mr. Steck. “When you walk in, you immediately feel at ease, which is very much like the doctor herself.”

Elegant, Comfortable Space Matches Doctor’s Style

Dr. Hackney’s exquisitely designed and decorated 3,000-square-foot office is instantly welcoming. Outside, a dark metal angled roof with crisp lines sits atop the white painted brick exterior. The many arched and dormer windows remind onlookers of a beautiful home rather than a professional dental building.

Inside, the reception area is like entering a friend’s home, with wide, crisp-white woodwork that contrasts nicely against the soft tan walls and dark wood plank flooring. Pairs of high-backed chairs in animal print and cream-colored upholstery surround a large, plush, chocolate-colored leather sofa. The soft-brown brick façade of the check-in desk adds a vibrant texture that enhances the laid-back beauty of the space. Soft recessed lighting and the coffered ceiling create more interest and add to the cozy, homelike atmosphere.

Operatories are an open-bay, rear-delivery layout, a change from her previous side-delivery design. Chairs and lights are by Pelton & Crane.

“The feel is a unique combination of elegant and inviting,” agreed Mr. Steck. “When you walk in, you immediately feel at ease, which is very much like the doctor herself.”

In the previous office, the doctor did much of her patient care from a standing position, but with the new ergonomically designed operatories, she and her staff are more comfortable caring for patients.

New Technology Opens Door of Opportunity

Six operatories line the left-hand side of the hallway as patients enter the treatment area, each with a large window to let in natural light. She chose Pelton & Crane dental chairs for the operatories, but she decided to adjust her workflow for a different type of delivery unit that could offer greater comfort and access to the patient.

“The doctor decided to change to a rear-delivery, open-bay concept with center-island cabinets,” said Ms. Mackey. “This was a huge change from side delivery, which she had used in her previous office. She found herself standing most of the time with [that setup]. She is now sitting and more aware of the ergonomic need for good positioning.”

Same-Day Dentistry an Asset

An alcove across the hall from the operatories holds a panoramic X-ray machine and a generously sized walk-through Steri-Center. Next door to that is the laboratory, which features the practice’s newest equipment addition—the Planmeca PlanScan CAD/CAM system.

Dr. Hackney purchased the system a few months before the move because she wanted to use it ahead of time so there was one less new thing to learn and adapt to on the first day in her new location.

“It seemed silly to take on the cost and stress of a new building and moving if I was just going to do the exact same thing in my new location,” she noted. “That was the final push in my decision to go ahead with the PlanScan purchase.”

The Planmeca PlanMill 40 CAD/CAM milling system, located in her onsite lab, allows Dr. Hackney to complete same-day dentistry for her patients, an added convenience.

“The office flow has reduced the stress from the crowded space they were in before,” confirmed Ms. Mackey. “And, with the addition of the Planmeca PlanScan, patients are now receiving same-day dentistry from a very talented dentist.”

Dr. Hackney’s staff members are thrilled with the new facility and all of its new elements, from the mechanical room to the lab and the sterilization center.

Left to right: Jack Suits, Field Sales Consultant; Ryan Steck, Director of Equipment & Technology; Robert Kirkley, CAD/CAM Specialist; Dr. StephanieGray Hackney; Aleida Mackey, Equipment & Technology Specialist