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Amazing Decor and State-of-the-Art Technology Key to Innovative Business Model

Issue: Winter 2014
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Smiling Seal Pediatric Dentistry, Valencia, California

According to a wise proverb: “Experience is the best teacher.” In the case of Dr. Ninus Ebrahimi and Dr. Angela Choi, that is true, but not in the way you might think. These graduates from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine are benefiting from the expertise and advice of two seasoned dentists who founded Smiling Frog Group, more than 1,000 miles away!

New Pediatric Dentists Open Their Own Offices Without Upfront Costs
Smiling Frog Group is a new company founded by Dr. Patrick Martin and Dr. Tonya Triplett that has developed a ground-breaking business model for pediatric dental offices. These pediatric dentists own their own practices in West Virginia and Arkansas respectively, and they recognized an opportunity to help newer pediatric dentists start their own practices—without incurring any upfront costs. In exchange, the aspiring practice owners work as staff doctors for the first two years and begin profit sharing and a buy-in process in the third year. Local dentists can become sole owners in as little as five years. Smiling Seal Pediatric Dentistry in Valencia, California, is the first office built using this innovative plan.

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The front desk comes to life with a 3-D beach scene complete with whimsical sea creatures and a dramatic full-sized palm tree.

“This idea started as another alternative for young dentists coming out of dental programs,” said Dr. Triplett. “Typically, most newly graduated dentists join an existing practice or work in corporate dentistry. Our concept gives them the path for owning their own practice. The office was built for Dr. Ebrahimi and Dr. Choi with the concept that they would be the future owners of the practice.”

Over-the-Top Theming Wows Children and Parents
Smiling Seal Pediatric Dentistry opened in March 2013, and it offers general pediatric dentistry and orthodontic services to local families. Dynamic 3-D sculptures, lively murals, ceiling-mounted sea creatures, and other eye-catching props greet patients with an over-the-top festive atmosphere that is designed just for them. Everywhere you look, the office is drenched in vivid colors. Custom murals—digitally printed on vinyl—line the walls and celebrate the area’s most famous landmarks, including Hollywood and the Santa Monica Pier. It is truly a magical world for children!

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The tour through California theme begins in the “Hollywood” area of the waiting room with Dr. Choi and Dr. Ebrahimi making their red carpet debut in a tooth shaped hot-air balloon.

The Santa Monica Pier area of the waiting room is complete with a roller coaster and carnival games that house Xbox 360 game systems to keep kids engaged as they wait their turn.

Matt Scott, Henry Schein Equipment Sales Specialist, explained how Henry Schein became involved in this innovative build. “Dr. Triplett built a 32-chair office in Arkansas with Henry Schein in 2010, and wanted us to work on this project too. The office in Valencia was based on demographics and other factors the doctors felt would be attractive to young dentists just graduating from school,” said Mr. Scott. Valencia is a young, upper-middle class community, close to schools, with lots of construction, new homes, and a newer shopping area.

“Henry Schein’s national design team handled the design of the 5,600-square-foot-space, Dave Sullivan made merchandise recommendations, and I made equipment and technology recommendations.” continued Mr. Scott. “I wanted to be sure the doctors were absolutely 100% happy every time they visited from the East Coast in addition to local Drs. Ebrahimi and Choi. I was very active in the job site supervision since the doctors were out of town. I met Dr. Ebrahimi and Dr. Choi at the very beginning of construction, and they also stayed active in supervising the project.”

Today, Dr. Ebrahimi and Dr. Choi work in an office that is nothing short of spectacular. From the technology to the “Tour Through California” theming—which highlights popular local attractions—this pediatric office is one-of-a-kind.

“From digital imaging to electronic paperwork and charting, the technology has helped the entire office to be more productive and efficient in scheduling and treating patients,” said Dr. Triplett.

The waiting room captures the excitement of the Santa Monica Pier. A hair-raising roller coaster bursts through the ceiling, and Xbox 360 game consoles draw kids to the carnival barker’s tent. The 3-D check-in desk looks like a visit to a nearby beach. A massive sand castle flanks one side and a life-size palm tree with its resident squirrel flanks the other, welcoming patients to come and explore.

Parents can get comfortable in the bold pink, blue, and yellow waiting room chairs or they can sit back on the circular bench, which wraps around a massive 3-D hot-air balloon that is ready to launch the doctors into the sky. The magic does not end in the waiting room— the treatment areas were designed to delight children as much as the waiting area does.

Treatment Areas Delight, Feature Cutting-Edge Technology
There are 12 operatories, made up of six closed treatment rooms and a large, open hygiene bay with six Biotec Pedo Benches, each in a different color. The walls in the hygiene area are covered in floor-to-ceiling murals of a wondrous world under the sea. Up above, a 3-D whale, shark, and dolphin swim overhead, giving patients something fun to look at during their appointments.

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Brilliant colors on the walls, ceilings, and furniture capture the eye as children enter exam rooms.
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Biotec Pedo Benches are a kid-friendly alternative to traditional treatment chairs and allow the children an excellent view of the marine mammals above. The open hygiene bay also features Biotec cabinetry and Proma lights.

Inside the six closed operatories, patients fit comfortably in the chairs, each with a different vivid hue. Both parents and children enjoy a great view out the faux windows, which give kids a peek into a fantastic world of friendly characters that appears to be right outside. The cabinetry is from Biotec and lights are by Proma and Pelton & Crane. Porter Nitrous Oxide Sedation Systems are available in each room.

The real star of the office is the cutting-edge technology supplied by Henry Schein! Drs. Martin and Triplett invested in digital radiography from Instrumentarium: a panoramic unit and two intraoral X-ray units. They also chose DEXIS sensors for patient comfort and superior imaging. Screens in each operatory not only provide entertainment but also display the child’s digital images so parents have a better understanding of treatment recommendations.

Behind the scenes, the sterilization area is efficient and designed to handle heavy patient loads. It is a galley-style that allows for instruments to move seamlessly from dirty to clean. A separate entrance and exit prevent staffing bottlenecks. Pelton & Crane’s VistaPure water system provides high-quality water for use in the sterilization area and throughout the office.

“From digital imaging to electronic paperwork and charting, the technology has helped the entire office to be more productive and efficient in scheduling and treating patients,” said Dr. Triplett.

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All of the equipment was chosen to appeal to children and cater to their needs, including Boyd treatment chairs and Biotec cabinetry.
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The imaging areas are bright and contain an Instrumentarium OP200 panoramic X-ray and an Instrumentarium FOCUS. The color scheme continues into the nearby sterilization area, featuring Midmark equipment and a KaVo QUATTROCare.
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Left to right: Matt Scott, Equipment Sales Specialist; Dave Sullivan, Field Sales Consultant; Dr. Ninus Ebrahimi; Dr. Angela Choi

New Business Model Creating Excitement in Santa Clarita Valley
The office has been open for a year, and the positive feedback from patients and their parents is overwhelming.

“There’s a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising from parents who visit the office and are amazed at the finished product,” said Mr. Scott.

Dr. Triplett concurs: “The patients are absolutely in awe upon touring our office. Many parents ask if they can also be patients at the office because it is so fun and inviting. The staff loves coming in to an environment that keeps kids comfortable and happy.”

As a start-up office, the doctors are seeing strong growth and a growing number of referrals because of the atmosphere and the gentle care they provide. The investment in theming and equipment and technology is drawing new patients to this premier practice. “We love how the office markets itself!” added Dr. Triplett.

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Smiling Seal Floor Plan