Alaska Dental Care, Anchorage, Alaska
Every year, more than a million people travel from all over the world to take in the amazing scenery Dr. Brett Gardiner and his team are able to enjoy every day, right outside. Located in Anchorage, Alaska, along the Cook Inlet, the doctor’s 3,600-square-foot general dentistry practice, Alaska Dental Care, is set amid the rugged beauty of the Chugach Mountains. Outside, the view is stunning. Inside, the office’s warm and inviting décor welcomes and impresses patients who come from both Anchorage and Eagle River for dental care. This beautiful practice was completed in January 2014 and is thriving today with three dentists and a friendly team of hygienists and assistants.
“I took over an existing practice in early 2011 from Dr. Richard Williams, who was ready to hand over the reins,” recalls Dr. Gardiner, who changed its name to Alaska Dental Care. “We both practiced very conservative dentistry, and he knew he could trust me to care for his patients well. After a few years of practicing there, we simply ran out of space.”
The practice was located on the first floor of a busy office building in midtown Anchorage in an excellent location close to shopping and local attractions. When the upstairs tenant left, Dr. Gardiner immediately began speaking to dental supply companies about the possibility of building in that vacant space on the second floor, which offered more square footage. One of those companies was Henry Schein.
“The doctor was 100% loyal to another company when we started talking to him,” notes Henry Schein Equipment & Technology Specialist Mike Roddy, who explains how he began working with Dr. Gardiner. “We earned his loyalty and gained his business by demonstrating the tools that Henry Schein has to grow a practice. The doctor understood that we cared about his business as much as he cared about his team and patients.”
Preliminary Plan Leads to Partnership
Mr. Roddy and Field Sales Consultant Ryan Macomb offered to design a preliminary floor plan for Dr. Gardiner. There was no blueprint available, so they took field measurements and sent them to Henry Schein’s National Design Group, and Designer Tracy Tock came up with a plan. After several drafts, the doctor settled on a design he liked.
To help Dr. Gardiner visualize how the plan would translate into the space, Macomb and Roddy provided 3D renderings and physically taped off the second floor space so the doctor could walk the prospective layout for himself. Dr. Gardiner and his wife then traveled to the Pelton & Crane factory in North Carolina with the Henry Schein representatives for a VIP visit. It was there that the doctor became a believer in the company’s narrow-back design because it was more ergonomical for him and his team. With that as the foundation for his equipment, he selected Pelton & Crane lights, cabinets, and a sterilization center.
“Having Ryan Macomb with me during the trip to Charlotte was paramount to demonstrating the strength of our team,” says Roddy. “Both of us were involved in every aspect of this build.”
Focused on Patient and Staff Comfort
The outside of the building is a modern, large mirrored-glass structure. But inside Alaska Dental Care, the ambiance is warm.
“I’ve never met a doctor so focused on the comfort of those around him,” Roddy admits. “He actually asked us to make his private office smaller so his team could have a larger space for themselves. He was also extremely focused on creating a family feel in his practice.”
That concern for patients and staff is evident in the look, feel, and even the sounds heard in the office! The colors are serene and the patient flow is optimized to be relaxing and stress-free. With the logo proudly floating above the sweeping curves of the reception desk, patients are immediately put at ease when they walk through the entry doors, with plenty of seating and a complimentary beverage station awaiting them. Plush carpeting lines the reception area and the hallways, creating a home-like atmosphere and softening the noises within. In fact, Dr. Gardiner was so concerned about how sound would affect his patients that he upgraded to quieter electric KaVo handpieces and placed the hygiene rooms on the opposite end of the office from the treatment rooms. The distance prevented patients from being bothered by sounds of drills or other equipment. He took his soundproofing efforts one step further, too.
“We spent countless hours helping the doctor identify and realize his vision,” Roddy notes. “By locating the doctor’s mechanicals in a suite two stories above his practice, we were able to create a virtually silent office.”
The operatories offer patients more room and more sunlight, which has brightened our moods,” explains Dr. Gardiner.
Sweeping Views, Ergonomically Designed Operatories
The nine open-bay operatories on the second floor run along the perimeter of Alaska Dental Care. Their plentiful windows provide majestic mountain vistas and much needed-natural light during Alaskan winters, when daylight can be limited to six hours a day.
“The operatories offer patients more room and more sunlight, which has brightened our moods,” explains Dr. Gardiner.
A separate quiet room/surgical suite is set apart from the exam rooms, offering greater privacy. It is specially equipped with a TV screen so parents can see their children in another room.
With comfort in mind, the doctor chose Pelton & Crane Spirit 3300 dental chairs for their narrow-back design and massage feature. These ergonomically friendly chairs are advantageous for the doctors and their long-term health, but the patients enjoy them with the same enthusiasm.
“In 20 years of practicing dentistry, I don’t recall a patient requesting to stay in our office longer than necessary,” the doctor adds. “After a relaxing visit in the massaging chairs, it is common now!”
Going Paperless Leverages Technology Integration
The exceptional patient care given at Alaska Dental Care is also made possible because of the doctor’s commitment to providing excellence in technology. His office was already paperless, with digital imaging technologies tied into his Dentrix practice management system. The Solaris sterilization center—with equipment from Pelton & Crane, Midmark, and SciCan—sits across the hall from the operatories and has an efficient walk-through layout to eliminate bottlenecks.
The office was more than a new beginning for Dr. Gardiner; it was also the start of a successful partnership with two other doctors who have helped to expand the capacity and services of Alaska Dental Care.
“We moved upstairs into the beautiful new space in January, 2014,” he confirms. “Midway through the build, Dr. Stephen Howard and I began discussions about merging our practices. That partnership was finalized in 2015. We’ve now acquired a second practice through the partnership merger with Dr. Howard, which has allowed
us to expand our services to Medicaid patients.”
Alaska Dental Care has been open nearly two years, and looking back, Dr. Gardiner offers some advice he learned from his own building experience.
“Be patient and ask lots of questions,” he recommends. “Ask your Henry Schein representatives to go through a detailed project checklist with you prior to the project, and then go through that checklist with your contractor and interior decorator right from the start.”
The success of Alaska Dental Care is positive proof that paying attention to even small details will positively impact a practice, but providing quality care in a comfortable atmosphere is the number one reason patients keep coming back.