Smile Craft Dental – Redwood City, CA | Amy Nguyen, DDS
Dr. Amy Nguyen has launched two start-up offices, the first in Mountain View, California, and the second in Redwood City, expanding her Smile Craft Dental network to two general-dentistry locations. Both practices are in highly upscale, high-tech communities, but that is where their similarities end. Their designs and technology couldn’t be more unique.
Inherited Office With Existing Layout Presents Challenges
When she launched Smile Craft Dental in 2012, Dr. Nguyen bought an already-completed Mountain View office. It had been built for another doctor, so she never had the opportunity to weigh in on its layout. In the years she’s worked there, it has helped her build a successful, growing practice. At the same time, she noted changes she would make if she designed a new office, given the chance. She discovered the dual-entry open-bay operatories the practice used could be loud at times, with drill noises wafting through the office. The double doorways also didn’t provide much patient privacy. Overall, the office was very cramped, and she didn’t have space for an imaging alcove or employee lounge. As she outgrew that space, she began making plans to find a second location. Dr. Nguyen did her homework, secured her financing, and located a building with ample parking. Once the new location was locked down, she had blueprints drawn up.
“I wanted to build a state-of-the-art practice that would really make patients and specialists want to work with us,” said Dr. Nguyen. “I’ve seen many beautiful new offices, but I wanted people to say they had never seen an office like mine.”
Digital Equipment Event Exposes Doctor To Technologies, Unique Practice Design
With her plans in hand, she attended a Henry Schein digital dentistry event for the chance to compare a wide variety of equipment at one time. It was there she met Equipment Sales Specialist Kevin McBee. Mr. McBee learned of her goals during their conversation and asked for the chance to propose something new— a different floor plan he believed would deliver everything on her wish list. She agreed. Mr. McBee recruited Henry Schein’s Integrated Design Studio team, who used a conceptual drawing to adjust her plans to include single-entry operatories outfitted with custom Dentsply Sirona treatment centers and cabinetry. Dr. Nguyen met Mr. McBee and her Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant, Kenny Bueno, at an existing office that utilized this type of design in single-entry operatories. After seeing how productive the team was when using this layout and the dramatic look of the practice, she was sold!
“Single entry isn’t common, but it’s growing,” said Mr. McBee. “With it, you have more privacy to do chairside consults, improved ergonomics with just the one functional rear cabinet, and an overall better patient experience.”
Kappler Design took Integrated Design Studio’s preliminary drawing and perfected it, addressing every detail. Today, Smile Craft Dental features a nontraditional, jaw-dropping style that is spectacular, yet highly functional. The first impression is vital, particularly in Silicon Valley, which is populated by those in the high-tech industry. Entering the reception area, the first impression nails it. Visual interest is created in the ceilings and walls with a repeating litany of wood trim that runs across and down. Clean, modern, and yet warm, the front desk mimics that look, beckoning patients into the office. The reception area seating is unique, using the wall to create a curving section of seating decorated in black and white. The palette is simple and sophisticated, with the only whisper of color the back-lit blue logo on the wall.
Transition to Single-Entry Operatories a Game Changer
The three single-entry operatories are the workhorses of Smile Craft Dental, and the doctor has additional room to add five more as needed. Using a universal design in every room, the sleek modular cabinets were custom-built to accommodate the practice’s workflow and processes perfectly, holding bins and cassettes for that day’s patient load in each treatment room. Turnover is quicker because assistants no longer leave to collect setups for the next patient or step out to grab a forgotten item. Instead, each morning, they visit a central inventory area and view a monitor that displays the day’s schedule. Using that as their guide, they prepare the cassettes and tubs to pre-stock each room—all before a single patient arrives.
“The cabinetry allowed me to work solo, without an assistant, for the first month I was open,” said Dr. Nguyen, who sees eight to ten patients a day per operatory. “Having everything properly stocked in the rooms means my assistants don’t have to get up in the middle of appointments to grab anything, which wastes time. My efficiency and productivity have increased greatly.”
Dr. Nguyen credits the cabinets’ efficiency as the reason she felt confident transitioning to a single-entry design. More private and quiet thanks to the single doorway, she also added a noise-canceling ceiling grid, to further dull any stray, ambient noise from other rooms. The treatment rooms operate as beautifully as they look, with soothing monochromatic color tones that have a pop of cheerful blue upholstery.
“The organization provided by the cabinets is what made it possible to switch to single entry, and I love everything about it.”
Technology Gets Big Boost With Added Square Footage
With the emphasis on streamlining workflows, the doctor chose a full suite of digital technology from Dentsply Sirona, fully integrated with the operatory treatment center. From the Orthophos SL 3D cone beam and the Primescan intraoral scanner to a CEREC in-office mill, everything communicates seamlessly, bringing images and treatment planning right to the patient. Digital images are showcased on the chairside monitor in real time for ease in diagnosis and patient education. Then the team can begin procedures almost immediately by reaching into a bin that’s ready to go, within arm’s reach!
The new office has also given the doctor the chance to add new services to her menu. She didn’t have room for a cone beam or an in-house mill in the Mountain View office, but now offers same-day dentistry in the new location. She estimates she sees one same-day dentistry patient every day, and fully expects that to grow quickly as patients learn about it.
The Orthophos SL 3D unit has also provided better patient outcomes because the doctor can provide detailed data to specialists, such as oral surgeons and endodontists.
While the Redwood City office was under construction, Dr. Nguyen test drove Dentsply Sirona’s new Primescan scanner and loved it so much, she changed her existing equipment order to include it.
“I looked at lots of scanners,” said Dr. Nguyen. “The Primescan’s focal depth and field of view were unsurpassed.” She also noted that it was four times faster than the previous model and offered more detail to doctors. She uses it for anything she would have taken a typical impression for in the past, including implants, orthodontics, and even appliances like night guards.
Dr. Nguyen is thrilled with Smile Craft Dental, and she is not the only one! “Patients always proudly make a referral based on the office aesthetic alone,” she confirmed. “The design is something no one’s ever seen before, and that’s always a topic of conversation.”
The ambiance has created a lot of buzz, even with patients who are accustomed to technology and cutting-edge environments, but Mr. McBee is just as impressed with how the doctor’s decisions were made with patient care at the forefront.
“At the end of the day, I am most proud of how all of the decisions Dr. Nguyen made were centered around what would be best for her patients,” he concluded. “Smile Craft Dental’s treatment centers, Orthophos SL 3D, and CEREC technology all facilitate transparent patient communication, fewer appointments, and state-of-the-art dental care.” ♦