Heritage Dental - Norman, Oklahoma | Elie Abou-Nassar, DDS
When Dr. Elie Abou-Nassar built a brand new dental practice in Norman, Oklahoma, he knew one thing – its theme would be old – extremely old – as in antique! Always intrigued by the history of dentistry and its advances over time, Dr. Elie built Heritage Dental on a theme of antique dentistry. Showcased in the waiting room of his spectacular new office and scattered throughout, patients can see for themselves how dentistry has evolved through displays of old-fashioned instruments and photos from eras long gone by. These mementos, however, are the only things in the entire office that are dated. Built from the ground up, the 4,000-square-foot practice is equipped with the latest technology and equipment currently available.
While working as an associate, Dr. Elie was thinking about the type of patient care he wanted to provide. Unable to do that while working for someone else, he decided to start from scratch and build his own business that met his long-term goals. He gathered a team of like-minded staff members, and together they embarked on the project of creating a new office that would be paperless, patient-centric, and efficient.
He bought land on a busy commercial corner in Norman, which is a college town of 110,000 just 20 miles from Oklahoma City, and constructed a brand new building there. All of the doctor’s selections for the office were driven by his desire to have superior technology that would be interconnected to simplify workflows and provide a better patient experience.
Rich wood and ornate design elements lend timeless elegance
Dr. Elie’s interest in the historical renaissance of dentistry was his design inspiration for the practice and for its name! The space has rich character with solid craftsmanship typical of earlier times, with large inverted crown moldings, scrolled iron accents on the door, and dark stained woodwork. Ceramic tile, made to look like worn wood planks, give the floors a warm patina while maintaining durability and ease of upkeep. Textured walls hold historic photos of dentists in action.
Mike Hollowell, Equipment Service Technician for Henry Schein, became friends with the doctor when he was working as an associate. They had talked often about Dr. Elie’s dream of owning his own practice and eventually expanding to multiple locations when other family members joined him in the dentistry field. For four years, plans were discussed, and when the doctor was ready, he asked his Henry Schein team, which also consisted of Equipment Sales Specialist Kris Haynes, Field Sales Consultant Doug Wedemyer, and Digital Technology Specialist Trinity Smith, to work on the build. A builder well known for their ornate and unique
buildings was contacted and the project was underway.
“I’ve seen him when he gets going, and he can work four or five operatories at a time and still take time out to talk to the patients,” said Mr. Hollowell. “It’s incredible. I suggested he think ahead and build a space that would be big enough for the future. That’s why we built a 4,000-square-foot space with room for 10 operatories.”
Circular workflow eases patient flow
The treatment rooms are split across two hallways, with three on each side and four running along the back of the office. Both the sterilization room and the lab sit in the middle, allowing quick entry from either hallway. The imaging room sits next to them, and holds the Planmeca ProOne imaging unit.
“The shape of the building and the location of the sterilization room and panoramic unit relative to our operatories makes it easier and more fluid for patients to go from waiting room to dental chair, and easier for the staff to go from room to room.”
Right now, four of the ten operatories are fully equipped with A-dec 500 chairs and integrated handpieces. Ceiling-mounted lights boxed in with wood trim match the residential feel of the office.
iPad check-in, digital X-rays in paperless office
Ms. Smith describes the doctor as a forward-thinking client. He selected a Planmeca ProOne panoramic system and also purchased two DEXIS sensors, a NOMAD Pro 2 portable X-ray unit, and a DEXIS DEXcam digital camera.
“In the previous practices I worked in, the technology was becoming outdated, which limited our ability to provide the best dental treatment,” said Dr. Elie. “To build a streamlined, paperless office, we made sure every room was equipped with the means to do so.”
Dentrix practice management software brings all of the digital technologies together, and it also makes the patient onboarding process and check-in much easier. “Heritage Dental uses iPads for check-in, and patients fill out their paperwork online,” notes Ms. Smith.
Even the mechanical room was built with the future in mind, using a Midmark PowerVac® G dry vacuum which powers up and down as chairs are filled, ensuring that all ten operatories, once operational, will have all of the power they need.
The doctor is pleased that patient care is responsive and quick, and everything is well connected and integrated. The overall result is a dental practice that provides outstanding care in an environment that patients and staff members love.
“My staff and I have years of experience ranging from private practice to corporate offices,” said Dr. Elie. “We wanted to combine the best aspects of those experiences to make sure every patient has a unique, consistent, and comfortable dental visit.”
The word is getting around because satisfied patients talk! The practice welcomes two to five new patients every day, and professional referrals are growing, too, as the team builds relationships with other doctors.
“It was a pleasure to bring my team together to help Dr. Elie fulfill his lifetime dream,” said Mr. Haynes.
Even with this big accomplishment under his belt, Dr. Elie is already thinking ahead and plans to expand his staff when the patient load grows and possibly add a specialist to provide convenience to his patients. He is dedicated to cutting-edge dentistry and is already in the planning stages for a second location.
“Not only was it great to work with Dr. Elie,” concludes Mr. Haynes, “but I think my team and I would all agree that we also made a great friend in the process.” ♦