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Coastal Office Invests in Technology to Grow Services and Patients

Issue: Spring 2016
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Miramar Beach Dental & Orthodontics

Miramar Beach, Florida

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When a dental practice is so successful that waiting patients are sitting with the staff behind the check-in desk because there are no seats left in the reception area, that is a sign that the office has outgrown its space! That actually happened in Dr. Jason Baker’s previous dental practice in Miramar Beach, Florida, and while he can laugh about it now, it was not funny at the time. Overcrowdedness was one of the primary factors that led to the construction of his new 5,300-square-foot office in June 2015.

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The light, airy feeling inside the practice draws inspiration from its beachside location. Whitewashed pine wood walls are cheerful and bright, and abundant natural sunlight shines through the many windows.

Expanding Services Demand Expanded Space
Dr. Baker moved from a general dentistry practice in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, to the beautiful beach community in the Florida Panhandle when he bought the practice of a retiring doctor. The 1,600-square-foot office he inherited in the purchase was in a good location with strong visibility, and he maximized his use of the space pretty well. Shortly after taking over the practice, Dr. Baker outfitted an additional operatory, providing him with three treatment rooms and two hygiene rooms. He also added orthodontics and implant dentistry to his service offerings, as well as facial aesthetics. As he hoped, the practice grew rapidly, and in just two years, he was in need of more space for his patients and his staff.

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Everything about the reception area is inviting, from the dedicated children’s area set behind a wavy glass wall to the comfortable chairs and sofa and maritime-themed artwork from local artists.

“We were literally tripping over one another at the old office!” laughed Dr. Baker. “If we ran behind at all, which happens in our profession, we had no flexibility. I had squeezed as much productivity as I could from a limited amount of space and operatories. I felt I was losing patients because of my limited chairs and because we had to schedule patients too far out on the calendar. I needed additional chairs and doctors if I was going to reach the growth goals I set for the practice.”

In addition to a larger office, Dr. Baker’s wish list included other key items: more parking, greater storage and lounge space for his team, an onsite lab, a dedicated children’s area, and the financial advantages that come with owning real estate as part of a retirement nest egg.

“The financial climate at the time favored small business owners and dentists, in particular,” he said. “Banks were offering the interest rates and money needed to accomplish my goals. I feel when preparedness and opportunity cross each other, action should be taken.”

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As an extension of the reception area, the dedicated children’s space allows for kids to be entertained without distraction from practice operations.

Seminar Helps Fine-Tune Practice Decisions
Dr. Baker reached out to his Henry Schein Equipment Sales Specialist, Don Sternberg, in 2013 to begin planning for a new location. Mr. Sternberg invited him to attend a Driven to Excellence seminar led by Dr. Mark Tholen. The seminar educates attendees on everything related to building a new practice, from financial considerations to design best practices.

“We started with a discovery meeting utilizing Henry Schein’s Office Design Workbook,” explained Mr. Sternberg. “Then, we attended the seminar in Charlotte. Dr. Baker was already in practice, and he had a good of idea of what he wanted. He did ask for my recommendations, and we made a follow-up visit to the Pelton & Crane facility and reviewed selections one last time.”

This is a facility that makes a statement about the quality of care being done inside. Just as important, however, is that it’s a functionally efficient office that is large enough to allow for future growth.

Mr. Sternberg helped the doctor maximize his use of the Section 179 deduction, and financing was done through Henry Schein Financial Services, which Dr. Baker described as a “very smooth process.”

When asked what makes the office so impressive, Mr. Sternberg summarized: “This is a facility that makes a statement about the quality of care being done inside. Just as important, however, is that it’s a functionally efficient office that is large enough to allow for future growth.”

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Inside the operatories, patients relax in plush Pelton & Crane chairs under Helios lights. The monitors in the operatories can display i-CAT’s Tx Studio software, which allows patients to discuss treatment plans right from their chair.

Beach-Style Elegance
Patients would probably describe the office with one simple word: stunning. The office’s theme is “beach cottage elegance.” The exterior is a soothing coastal blue-green heavily framed with crisp white trim and a soaring flat-angled roof that tops expansive windows. Inside, the soothing feel of the beach is captured in the laid-back, whitewashed pine-paneled walls that reach to the top of the two-story reception area. The bright and cheerful accents of the children’s area, complete with gaming tablets, are a vivid contrast against this calming backdrop. Custom-built reclaimed wood coffee and side tables sit along comfortable, upholstered chairs, giving patients plentiful seating options, a welcome change from the previous location! Artwork, commissioned by Dr. Baker from local artists, adorns the walls with creative interpretations of seagulls, fish, and other elements of seaside living. A large chalkboard contains announcements and serves as a fresh palette for future artistry.

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Miramar Beach Dental uses a variety of digital imaging systems, including the ScanX Swift, which uses cordless phosphorous sensors to capture more detailed intraoral images while also offering patients a faster, more comfortable experience.

The flooring in the reception area feature a wood-grain appearance; they are also found in the operatories, which further utilize reclaimed wood in hand-sanded accent walls. The hallways are wide and feature airy blue and lavender pastel hues, thick, white woodwork, and 11-foot-high ceilings. The counters are fabricated from a variety of materials, with granite used in the consultation room, Caesarstone in the reception and checkout areas, and finally, Corian Solid Surface in Hazelnut (a customer favorite!) in the sterilization center, onsite lab, and the operatories.

“The office has a very ‘local’ feel,” noted Dr. Baker. “It has an open design with the colors flowing toward the large operatory windows and complementing the sunny blue skies we receive on a regular basis in Florida.”

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Rear delivery units are more ergonomical for the doctor. The treatment rooms were innovatively built, keeping necessary cords and tubing hidden under the floor and out of sight.

Equipment Improves Ergonomics and Productivity
The office has eight treatment rooms with Pelton & Crane Renaissance operatory cabinets, Helios LED lights, rear-delivery units in the doctor’s rooms, and side-delivery units in the hygiene rooms. “The rear-delivery systems are improving my posture and decreasing my back and neck pain,” Dr. Baker noted. “They also allow the patient to look forward without staring at the instruments about to be used. Instead, all they see is a big beautiful window, a TV that plays Netflix, Cable TV, or their own musical choices and their own shoes!”

Other operatory equipment includes KaVo electric handpieces, and Acteon ultrasonic scalers. But perhaps one of the most innovative features inside the operatories is what patients do not see: all of the wiring to the foot-control tubing, nitrous oxide, and chair controls are fully concealed, running underneath the floor, giving the treatment areas a clean, uncluttered look, with it’s state-of-the-art Statim G4 sterilizer and efficient layout.

We continue to grow by creating a warm and welcoming environment, in addition to using the latest technology to keep most specialty services in-house,” concluded Dr. Baker.

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The Midmark sterilization center, with its gorgeous tile backsplash and Hazelnut Corian counters, looks as beautiful as it is functional. The SciCan STATIM G4 moves instruments from dirty to clean efficiently.

Digital Imaging Aids Diagnoses
From a digital imaging perspective, the practice has Progeny Preva wall-mounted X-ray units in multiple operatories, two ScanX Swift units, a handheld NOMAD X-ray unit, and an i-CAT 3D Cone Beam system.

With the addition of advanced technology, Dr. Baker is also expanding the types of services he offers to his patients, maximizing the equipment’s powerful benefits more fully. He now works with an associate dentist—Dr. Christina Higgins-Duplechain—who has added complementary skills and specialties to the practice.

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With the versatility and power of the i-CAT 3D Cone Beam system, the practice is now able to offer airway analysis and sleep studies to patients.

Dr. Higgins-Duplechain has studied extensively in the field of sleep dentistry/medicine,” said Dr. Baker. “We now offer take-home sleep studies, and we have begun submitting insurance filing for sleep appliances through our patients’ insurance or Medicare. I can also now offer Teeth Xpress, or full-mouth implant-supported prostheses.” The practice has grown from 2,000 active patients before the move to more than 3,500 and welcomes 50 to 60 new patients each month.

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Left to Right: Don Sternberg, Equipment Sales Specialist; Dr. Jason Baker; and Brooke Comer, Field Sales Consultant

“The production numbers for every month have exceeded last year’s numbers by at least 20%,” confirmed Dr. Baker. “We still have not completed all of the outside signage, and we expect an even larger increase when that’s complete.”

As a result of the outstanding growth, he is already making plans to finish an additional 1,000 square feet of flex space in the building to construct an orthodontic consultation and
records room.

“We continue to grow by creating a warm and welcoming environment, in addition to using the latest technology to keep most specialty services in-house,” concluded Dr. Baker. “The practice continues to grow, and the sky is the limit!”