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Coastal-Themed Practice Delivers Serene, Yet High-Tech Patient Experience

Issue: Volume 1, 2017
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Surf City Dental–Surf City, North Carolina

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Surf City Dental in Surf City, North Carolina, is an office that truly embraces its name. Set in a town on the headwaters of a coastal estuary, the practice envelops patients in soothing colors and artwork that draws on its airy, seaside surroundings. Patients enjoy coming into the modern 4,600 square-foot full-service practice—an impressive achievement for any dentist!

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The operatories offer A-dec chairs and over-the-patient delivery units which hold KaVo electric handpieces. The practice management system, Dentrix, is displayed on chairside monitors to aid in treatment discussion.

Dr. Matthew Parr’s story follows a plot line common to many dentists today. In 2013, he purchased an existing dental practice with four operatories in an older 1,300 square-foot office. However, what was workable for him as a single dentist with a four-member team quickly became crowded as his practice expanded to include three doctors and a team of nine.

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With casual elegance influenced by its coastal location, Surf City Dental’s reception area is bright and open, washed in a calming blue color palette.

The previous owner of the practice had referred many procedures out to other specialists, including extractions, root canals, and implants. But Dr. Parr wanted to offer this type of dentistry in-house, which led to his patient load growing beyond the practice’s initial scope. Limited by the physical space, the doctors, including associates Dr. Karen Hardesty and Dr. Samuel Taylor, did what they could to accommodate patients in the footprint they had, working split shifts and adding Saturday and extended evening hours.

Although they maximized their productivity as much as possible, it was evident they needed more parking and modern equipment if they were going to keep up with their patients’ needs. At the same time, the financial implications of building a new, stand-alone office were an important consideration and not something the doctor took lightly. Dr. Parr invested time attending business classes through Henry Schein’s Dental Business Institute to strategize optimal ways to expand his practice.

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The minimalistic office design, which is also eco-friendly, relies on live potted plants and succulents to add serenity to the space, as well as to enhance the indoor air quality.

“Henry Schein was involved with the project from top to bottom,” stated Dr. Parr, who worked with Brandon Brooks, Henry Schein Equipment Sales Specialist, and Richard Edwards, Field Sales Consultant. “My local Henry Schein Field and Equipment Representatives impressed me with their control of the process. They worked well with my general contractor, architect, and interior designer, and their involvement was instrumental in getting the project finished on schedule.”

Mr. Brooks has 22 years of dental experience, and Dr. Parr relied on his equipment and technology recommendations, which were based on the practice’s mix of procedure types and overall goals. Together, they created drawings with a Henry Schein designer, toured equipment manufacturers’ facilities, and determined the best financing options, including an in-house option. The new office, which opened in July 2016, is a breath of relaxation, as well as a shining example of how to integrate powerful technology to enhance the patient experience. Patients have posted glowing reviews online about Surf City Dental’s serene atmosphere and the high level of care they enjoy there.

“People are talking about us!” said Dr. Parr. “We provide an outstanding environment that directly reflects the quality of our services.”

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To accommodate the greater patient load, the sterilization room was enlarged from the previous office, and a dedicated technician moves instruments from dirty to clean using Midmark and SciCan equipment.

Beach Proximity Inspires Office Design
Surf City Dental’s décor draws heavily from its proximity to the beach. A calm palette of blue is contrasted with simple white woodwork and a minimalistic design scheme. The walls remain simple and relatively untouched, dotted only with maritime-themed sconces and a large flowing piece of custom artwork that looks like rolling waves in various blues and greens. Terrariums with succulents bring a touch of nature to the coastal theme.

The reception area is wide open and uncluttered, framed by rich tiled floors and an angled wood planked ceiling. Plentiful recessed lighting and dormer windows bring light into the practice and add architectural interest. Full floor-to-ceiling windows overlook a comfortable front porch giving patients and staff a comfortable place to relax, complete with rocking chairs. The overall design is spacious, subtle, and soft, bringing relief to anxious patients, while also paying special attention to its impact on the surrounding area.

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The consultation room, complete with the trademark surfboard, has a whimsical feel and provides privacy for in-depth patient discussions.

“We made it a priority to decrease the environmental impact of the building by going green in several areas, from the rain chains collecting rainfall to re-water the lawn to the landscaping made up of regional plants that require less water and fertilization,” noted Dr. Parr. “Our parking lot is made up of semi-pervious materials to reduce storm water runoff. Inside, we use cloth hand towels instead of paper, and we installed live plants to reduce stress for the patients and provide cleaner air.”

The office is fully digital, another green initiative, and it uses Dentrix practice management software, which ties together all of the practice’s technologies into the patient’s electronic record.

“Our parking lot is made up of semi-pervious materials to reduce storm water runoff. Inside, we use cloth hand towels instead of paper, and we installed live plants to reduce stress for the patients and provide cleaner air.”

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The brushing station beckons patients with its contemporary styling and frosted vessel sinks set below a bright and cheery window.

Workflow Efficiency Boosted by Smart Floor Plan and New Technology
Behind the spacious check-in desk, the treatment area continues the tranquil theming. It is compactly designed with key functional areas just steps from every operatory. The doctor built seven treatment rooms, marked with stylish barn-style sliding doors and equipped with new A-dec 411 chairs and over-the-patient delivery units. Midmark lights, repurposed from Dr. Parr’s previous office, illuminate each of these rooms.

Quiet but powerful KaVo electric handpieces were added to the practice, and Nomad portable imaging units were also incorporated, which adds scheduling and treatment flexibility. The team offers patients essential oils, music, and even soft blankets to pamper patients and ease apprehension as they undergo their procedure.

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The new location is across the street from a busy commercial area and offers greatly expanded parking and a relaxing exterior, complete with rocking chairs on the front porch.
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The Planmeca ProMax 3D Cone Beam unit was an instrumental purchase, made possible due to the increased square footage that allows the doctor to expand his implant dentistry services.

In between the operatories resides a sterilization center and full-service wet lab. Located in the center of the treatment area, the Midmark sterilization center helps move instruments through the cleaning process effectively and safely, thanks to equipment from Midmark and SciCan and a dedicated sterilization technician. The expansion of the practice allowed the doctor to upgrade to a Planmeca ProMax 3D Cone Beam unit, something that was needed for implant dentistry work.

“The integration of the new equipment with the new facility has had a dramatic effect on improving patient flow. This has helped reduce team miscommunication and daily challenges and makes the team’s job easier. We are happier; we spend a lot of time outside on the deck for lunch!”

TechCentral handled the planning and laid all of the CAT6 cabling to integrate all of this high-tech equipment into a single, interconnected system. The seamless relationship between impressive technology and a personalized and caring patient experience has already led to an increase in referrals, and productivity is up too.

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“People are talking about us!” said Dr. Parr. “We provide an outstanding environment that directly reflects the quality of our services. We have been able to streamline our flow, reduce bottleneck situations, and the mood of our team and patients reflects our new environment.”

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