Renovated Atlanta Office Provides New Solutions to Old Technology

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Susan G. Rifkin, DDS & Associates – Atlanta, Georgia | Susan G. Rifkin, DDS

Every dentist has a catalyst for building a new office. For Dr. Susan Rifkin, of Susan G. Rifkin, DDS and Associates in Atlanta, Georgia, there were two main factors that propelled her into action—one old and one new!

Susan G Rifkin reception area

The reception area is stunning, even down to the smallest details. With high-end upholstered seating and Cambria countertops with edges that mimic the textured accent wall behind it, the design elements work together to make an exceptional first impression.

The “old” was the dated office technology and equipment. When Dr. Rifkin purchased it back in 1991 during the build of her office, it performed well and was reliable. She believes she “got her money’s worth” from it after decades of heavy use. But as it reached the end of its natural lifespan, the need for costly and time-consuming repairs became more frequent. At the same time her equipment was reaching the end of its usefulness, Dr. Rifkin was making plans to welcome two new associates into her practice, including Dr. Andrew King. It became obvious that the time to upgrade and renovate the practice was at hand.

Logo“My dream was to have a beautiful new facility to work in as I mentor the next generation of doctors,” said Dr. Rifkin. “The office was nice and appeared up-to-date, but it really needed a facelift. We had chairs with duct tape, and visible cords hanging from new equipment additions. After 26 years in the same location, it was time for an overhaul that would set up my new associates for success for another 25 years.”

Vibrant Location near Major Corporations
Dr. Rifkin had built the office in Northpark Town Center, just outside of Atlanta, with her partner at the time. The building is upscale and features full-size windows that bring sunlight into the office.


The 3,100 square foot office has nine closed-bay operatories, separated by center cabinets. The ninth operatory, added during the build by reconstructing the doctor’s personal office, is now a dedicated surgical suite.

Dr. Rifkin offers cosmetic, implant, and restorative dentistry to those in the community and to the employees of the many major corporations working nearby. The practice is in an excellent location, both in its geography in the metro area and its position within the building itself. Dr. Rifkin’s office is on the third floor, near the entrance to a very popular café, resulting in a lot of foot traffic. Another global corporation is moving in across the street soon, adding another new group of potential patients.

For these reasons, the doctor wanted to remain in the existing location, choosing to modernize the look of the office and the equipment while also rearranging the layout to add another operatory and a larger employee lounge.

“The very first step was sharing my dream with my Henry Schein Field Sales Consultant, Al Cuellar,” stated Dr. Rifkin. “He has always been a great confidante and friend, and I trusted his judgment on this big undertaking. I knew he would lead me in the right direction, helping me select equipment and redesign the space, and in general, just fulfilling my dream in as painless a process as possible, both financially and time-wise. Truly the only limitation [of the office] was that some of the old equipment was beginning to fail,” confirmed the doctor. “The new space needed the newest dental chairs, dental units, and cabinetry, as well as new X-ray equipment and a dedicated space for a larger team to relax and have lunch.”

Consultation room showing dental design

Designer fabrics and Cambria surfaces were selected for the consultation rooms, which are spacious and allow the doctor to display digital images during treatment discussions.

A Creative Design Expands Treatment Capacity in the Same Square Footage
Because there wasn’t additional square footage available for expansion, the team had to be creative, repurposing a private office into a surgical suite and expanding the employee lounge by pushing out one of the walls into the hallway. Mr. Cuellar recruited Joe Wilson, a Henry Schein Equipment Sales Specialist, to help translate the doctor’s objectives into the best technology solutions.

“The practice was using a digital processor, along with DEXIS sensors,” said Mr. Wilson. “The doctor replaced the digital processor with a Belmont digital imaging system, chosen because of its workhorse reputation for reliability.”

Mr. Wilson also walked the doctors through a variety of options in practice equipment, and Dr. Rifkin and her soon-to-be-partner, her son, Dr. Zachary Rifkin, traveled to see the options for themselves.

They first traveled to North Carolina for a practice design seminar, and then to Portland to tour the A-dec facility together with their Henry Schein team. Dr. Rifkin used her existing A-dec equipment every day, and after decades of use, she was convinced of the brand’s longevity and reliability, and decided to purchase A-dec again for the renovation.

“Joe Wilson and the A-dec representative were knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and they were present at every meeting with the contractor,” said Dr. Rifkin. “They always had my best interest at heart.”

Treatment room

The operatories feature A-dec 511 chairs with continental delivery units, LED lights and wood grain color cabinetry.

Because the office was being renovated while maintaining its regular workload, Mr. Wilson had to work closely with the contractors to meet deadlines and schedule work systematically, so that the doctor could see patients uninterrupted during the build. Dr. Rifkin worked out of one side of the office while the other half was upgraded. She then switched places when the new section was done while the remaining portion of the office was being completed.

Modern Décor Aligns With Practice’s High-Tech Care
The office, attractive before the renovation, is visually stunning now, with new finishes that are rich and lustrous. The color palette is neutral, so the textural, eye-catching logo wall that sits behind the reception desk makes a bold first impression.

The furniture was reupholstered in lush, designer fabrics, and the carpet has a subtle, flowing pattern.

“There is new pendant lighting for the reception desk and Cambria countertops on the reception desk and in the staff lounge,” noted Dr. Rifkin.

The operatories have a refreshed ambiance with new A-dec chairs in rich caramel leather, wood grain cabinetry, and new LED lights. The doctor wanted to preserve some of her budget for a future equipment purchase, so Mr. Cuellar brainstormed to stretch her dollars, updating her 12 o’clock cabinetry with new components.

Sterilization room

The sterilization room received a face-lift more recently than the rest of the practice, so the configuration remained the same, but the equipment was upgraded to the latest Midmark and SciCan models.

“Al Cuellar has always been so honest in sharing his thoughts and ideas about how to save dollars in one place so we could afford something else,” noted Dr. Rifkin.

The sterilization room was left in its original configuration. It had been redone more recently anyway, so the doctor simply replaced her existing equipment with a new, high-grade Midmark M11 autoclave, a Midmark M550 ultrasonic cleaner, and a SciCan STATIM 5000 cassette sterilizer.

“This refreshed facility lets us breathe a little better, knowing that everything is new and won’t require so many repairs,” Dr. Rifkin commented. “It is an absolute pleasure to work with all of our new equipment.”

The office is so impressive that patients are referring more friends and family, and the office building management has begun to update the common area around the building, using Dr. Rifkin’s décor as their new standard.

Even though the doctor went into this project with the main goal of equipping the office for the future generation of associates coming to work there, it’s also personally given her a new energy and perspective.

“I think I will be working here a lot longer than perhaps I had originally thought,” added Dr. Rifkin. ♦

Group portrait

From Left to Right: Joe Wilson, Equipment Sales Specialist; Scott Carringer, Regional Manager; Dr. Susan Rifkin; Marcus Glover, Regional Operations Manager; Al Cuellar, Field Sales Consultant

Originally published in Sidekick Magazine.