Integrity Dental – Pueblo, Colorado | Jeremy Thomas, DDS
The evolution of Dr. Jeremy Thomas’ dental practice is a classic example of how young dentists are advancing patient care by introducing technology integration into existing practices. In Dr. Thomas’ case, he moved to Pueblo, Colorado, and purchased a general-dentistry practice from a retiring doctor who had practiced there for more than 50 years. As
Dr. Thomas introduced digital imaging and same-day restorations to his patients, they responded, and Integrity Dental grew. In fact, it outgrew the equipment and the space!
Dr. Thomas had updated some of the technology when he bought the practice in 2012, switching to digital X-rays and adding the Planmeca FIT system with an onsite mill for same-day dentistry. The use of this technology provided a superior patient experience that fueled his practice growth, and he was booked for months. He wanted to add an associate, but there was no physical space to do so. In addition, some pieces of the equipment he inherited were more than 40 years old, and they required frequent maintenance and repairs, another hindrance to office productivity.
With those issues as a backdrop and with his office lease due for renewal, Dr. Thomas began talking with Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant Scott Plantenberg and Equipment Sales Specialist Mike Stanislawski about his desire to build a new, state-of-the-art office in a building he would own.
“Patients’ perceptions of a dental office are still 90% of their reality,” said
Mr. Stanislawski. “Dr. Thomas understood that a modern office is a key part of his marketing plan. Patients may not know him, but when they come in and see an office that is modern and crisp, it creates an impression.”
The doctor found a building about a mile from his existing office that was large enough to accommodate a larger practice and offer lease space to additional tenants. It was also highly visible and close to retail shopping and restaurants. Mr. Stanislawski brought together a team that included a real estate broker who helped with the purchase negotiations as well as an architect and contractor experienced in dental office builds. Plans were drawn up by Justin Crooke of Henry Schein’s Integrated Design Studio, and Mr. Stanislawski served as the project manager during construction, making weekly site visits and managing the logistics and timelines with the contractor and subcontractors. Because of careful planning, the doctor and his staff continued to treat patients right up to the move date, taking just three days off to transition from the old to the new practice location.
Integrity Dental’s new office has been open since April 2016, and it has already experienced an influx of new patients, not because of additional marketing efforts, but through positive word-of-mouth and patient referrals. The stunning design aligns with the exceptional dentistry performed by the doctor and his associate, Dr. John Ordahl, and the increased square footage and efficient layout provides the opportunity to see more patients than in the previous office.
Bold Design Elements, Soaring Ceilings
The waiting area sets a bold tone with a dramatic fireplace, providing immediate warmth, both literally and as a design element. The wide-open feeling can also be attributed to 30-foot-high ceilings that soar overhead. Extending an existing mezzanine above the treatment area brings the ceilings down to a more workable height for hanging lights and equipment. It also creates a large second floor space that is home to a beautiful employee lounge, a conference room for future training and continuing education, and storage that is accessed through a compact supply elevator. Accent walls drenched in rich colors draw together a complementary combination of mixed mediums, from ceramic and glass tiles to quartz.
There are 12 operatories in the practice, all equipped and designed similarly. Although certain rooms are informally designated for specific services, like the orthodontics bay and hygiene area, in actuality, most operatories can be used for any procedure, a flexibility that allows patients to receive an experience that is comfortable for them. “One of the unique elements that I really admire is the use of both open and closed bays in the office,” explained Mr. Stanislawski. “In some situations, like with younger children, it’s nice to have a closed bay where they can be with their parents or for a patient who is receiving more complex treatments, like endodontic work.”
Integrity Dental’s operatories run along the outside walls, circling the “key nerve centers” of the practice, something carefully considered when drafting the practice layout.
“We have all noticed that, even with an increased patient load in the new office, we do not feel rushed because we have more room that wasn’t available before,” said
Dr. Thomas. “And yet, there are fewer steps being wasted due to the central positioning of X-rays, the sterilization room, and the lab.”
New, Comfortable Equipment Fills Operatories
The treatment rooms are outfitted with A-dec cabinetry, lights, and dental chairs. The doctor is particularly impressed that A-dec makes every component—from the tubing to the screws—in-house, so there is a high assurance of quality control. Each room contains a patient monitor that can be used in treatment-planning discussions and as entertainment for patients who can watch Netflix while wearing noise-canceling headphones.
In the center of Integrity Dental, the galley-style sterilization center is positioned next to a large lab with entrances on both ends for quicker access. The doctor uses a second PlanMill 40 unit in the lab to meet the demand for increased same-day dentistry. Other equipment purchases include a Planmeca ProMax panoramic X-ray system that can be upgraded to 3D in the future and two NOMAD portable X-ray units.
“The technology impresses patients because it is convenient and, coupled with the entertainment, it creates a more tolerable dental visit,” noted Dr. Thomas. “For me, the technology aids in efficiency, patient education and compliance, and quality. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback and buzz throughout the community. The atmosphere stands out and is a conversation piece for many. Employees enjoy the thought of coming to work more. A few have even commented that it feels like getting a raise!”
Working in an attractive space that is custom-designed to enhance the operations of Integrity Dental while maximizing its use of technology has had a nearly immediate positive impact on the bottom line of the practice.
“Production has increased immensely,” said the doctor. “The extra room and efficiency allows us to see more patients and still maintain timeliness in our schedule.”
Although the new location has only been open for a few months, it has already experienced double-digit growth. Dr. Thomas plans to add another associate in the near future and expand the types of services the practice offers. With a spacious office optimally designed to enhance the doctor’s workflow and integrated cutting-edge technology, he is now poised to pursue future growth, knowing Integrity Dental has the infrastructure to deliver superb care to patients. ♦