Miami Smile Institute – Coral Gables, Florida | Norka Velasco, DMD; Rolando Velasco, DMD
In the sophisticated enclave of Coral Gables, Florida, about 25 miles from Miami, a new general dentistry practice opened in February 2017. Named Miami Smile Institute, its contemporary, cosmopolitan design suits this upscale, luxury community in South Florida. Behind a line of swaying palm trees, Miami Smile Institute is on the third floor of a large commercial/residential building on Ponce de Leon Boulevard and is a dream dental practice for owner Dr. Norka Velasco.
“I always had a dream to work in a dental practice like mine, with a nice, clear, and neat layout equipped with high-end technology and with a paperless system,” elaborated Dr. Velasco. “In my dream, there was always a calm and relaxed environment playing a primordial key along with a multi-disciplinary dental office acting like a real institute.”
Dr. Velasco is one half of a married dentistry couple. Her husband,
Dr. Rolando Velasco had an independent practice, but Dr. Norka Velasco did not have one of her own. Ralph Toll, Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant, is very involved in the business side of dentistry, and his insights were instrumental in helping Dr. Norka make the decision to build. She found the location, and then the Henry Schein team, which included Equipment Sales Specialist Ricardo D’Avila, helped her select the suite and brought in a design team to create the floor plan. A Driven to Excellence seminar at the Pelton & Crane facility gave Dr. Velasco the opportunity to see equipment in action, which helped her decide what she wanted for her practice. The new 2,400 square-foot office, with six operatories and massive windows that bring in year-round sunshine, was built large enough so Dr. Rolando could move into the new practice, so now it is a true family practice with them both under one roof.
“Once you walk into the space, you will be blown away with all of the design details, amazing finishes of the construction, and the look of the dental equipment,” said
The office has a crisp and pristine ambiance using white as the dominant color in the palette. The floor gleams in feathered white and grey marble, and the doors are glass and stainless steel. With long sight lines due to a generous number of windows and the clear glass in the doors and walls, the office feels open and spacious. The cabinets, and even the equipment, are true to the simple white and grey color scheme, and rich quartz countertops tie everything together. Accessories are consistent to the materials used in the office, focusing on stainless steel, gray and white leather, and white accessories and flowers. In this minimalist office, the doctor’s logo, which served as her inspiration, incorporates a slight pop of color, with three rings in yellow gold, white gold, and pink gold, accented with a red lip.
A shimmering crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling, lending an air of refinement to the waiting room. With its clean monochromatic whitewash surrounding patients, the effect is calming and reserved. Relaxing music is piped throughout the space, and the office even smells good! The gorgeous design reinforces the reputation the doctor has for professionalism and state-of-the-art care.
Building an office from scratch allowed Dr. Velasco to keep a completely open mind about the type of equipment to select.
“Mr. Toll did a practice analysis for the doctor, and scheduled both Dr. Norka and Dr. Rolando for a Driven to Excellence event,” said Mr. D’Avila. “They fell in love with the Pelton & Crane equipment and with the design ideas they learned there. Most of the decisions were made while they were there, but they also attended an i-CAT event during the process and were sold on its features as well.”
The appeal of the Pelton & Crane equipment was twofold: it has a sleek, attractive look that’s also comfortable for patients, and the functionality and ergonomics of the 3300 dental chair’s narrow back is easier on the doctors and staff. Dr. Velasco also selected 3000 LED lights and Renaissance cabinets to complete the beautiful operatory configuration, which is also efficiently designed.
Digital Technology Connected to Practice Management
On the technology side, Dr. Velasco did ultimately choose the i-CAT FLX system as well as DEXIS 10 Platinum digital imaging sensors — both which integrate well with one another and with the Dentrix G6 practice management software. The digital imaging also improves the experience for the patient, minimizing radiation exposure and making it simpler to capture superior diagnostic images with relative speed and comfort.
“With our digital technology and i-CAT benefits, we can provide a sophisticated and secure implant system as well as surgical procedures,” said Dr. Velasco. “We also provide minimal sedation to our patients who request it using nitrous oxide.”
Open Sterilization Center Gives Patients An Up-Close Look
Although many sterilization centers are tucked into hallways, hindering patients’ ability to see them fully in action, Dr. Velasco located her sterilization center out in the open, without walls separating it from the rest of the office. It runs along the length of the treatment room hallway, so patients can easily observe the processes used to maintain high standards of safety. The sterilization cabinetry is from Biotec and the equipment is from SciCan. Across the hall is a lab, and next to that, right across from the consultation room, sits the i-CAT, where every patient entering the treatment area can see it.
“The spaces we have and the flow we have created help us do better dentistry,” said Dr. Velasco, who added that patients often tell her the practice is a dream office beyond what they have ever experienced before. Employees, too, love the spacious lounge area and the rich finishes and smart workflow.
“Our staff enjoys every inch of the office, including the equipment and the relaxing environment,” said Dr. Velasco. “Everybody loves the office.”
In less than a year, doctors have already grown their practice significantly, seeing more than 40 new patients every month, and increasing production and the number of the patients and treatment plans accepted and completed. Although practicing in a stellar, gorgeous dental practice was indeed Dr. Velasco’s dream, this wasn’t just about fulfilling that. The couple has a daughter who has expressed interest in joining them in dentistry at some point, so this new office has taken on even greater significance because they know that one day it may also be hers.
“This is a gorgeous office,” concluded Mr. D’Avila. “And, to add to that, both Drs. Norka and Rolando Velasco are amazing people you just want to be around all the time. They are so nice and professional; they actually became my personal dentists!” ♦