Dr. Christopher Paulson is a fourth-generation dentist and owner of Arbor Dental Associates, a full-service general dentistry practice founded by his family more than 90 years ago! It opened its doors in 1926, in the middle of the “Roaring Twenties” and a few years before the Great Depression. Originally in Detroit, it was relocated to Southfield, and then to Farmington Hills. It was at this point that Dr. Paulson joined the practice, and he began to access whether the current location was a good fit for his long-term goals.
The practice was in a very large office building and located below grade, so it had no visibility, poor signage, and accessibility problems for the elderly and those with disabilities. Outside, parking was always difficult for patients in the busy lot. Inside, both the check-in and check-out locations were together in a crowded hallway, so bottlenecks were common for patients and confidentiality was difficult.
“I plan on practicing for a long time, and I wanted to expand,” says Dr. Paulson. “The location was small and not ideal for growth, accessibility, and viability for my current and prospective patients. We were growing too large to be contained in the old location.”
“The doctor’s design concept was to build a first-class health care facility with a balance of the latest technology and the interior design comforts of home.”
Furthermore, the office made it difficult to incorporate new technology. The doctor had inherited 30-year old equipment and had added to it gradually. He had invested in DEXIS digital imaging, and he wanted to add a digital pan, but there was not enough space. He also wanted Wi-Fi in the office, iPad integration with DEXIS go and Dentrix Mobile, and the ability to log in to the network from home — all of which required a more robust infrastructure.
Practice Analysis Tools Influence Key Office Improvements
Even though his existing space was not able to meet his needs, the decision to build out a new office was still one Dr. Paulson weighed cautiously. He reached out to his Henry Schein team to help him evaluate the possibility. Together, Equipment & Technology Specialist Rick Santourian, Field Sales Consultant Karen McPartlin, and the Straine Consulting Group provided the doctor with information on how a move would impact his practice and what his return on investment could be. They utilized Henry Schein’s exclusive Practice Analysis tool as well as demographic reports to identify good locations for a new dental office.
“I worked diligently with Rick Santourian and Justin Souyias from Henry Schein on where to move, using demographics to determine location,” notes Dr. Paulson. “I looked at past issues of Sidekick for design ideas. I looked at other offices by Henry Schein for design and work-flow ideas. I talked to Rick and Justin every day and asked a lot of questions about all the offices they had designed regarding form and ergonomics. Plus, by working with them daily, they got to know me and my practice’s needs, simplifying the procedure.”
After preparing a detailed financial analysis, Mr. Santourian found that by increasing production 12 percent, Dr. Paulson could “very comfortably afford the new space.” That information reinforced the doctor’s decision to build a new practice to his specifications, elevating the care he offered patients.
3,400 Square-Foot Office Opens in Novi
Today, Dr. Paulson owns the 3,400-square-foot Arbor Dental Associates in Novi, Michigan, a vibrant upper-middle-income area surrounded by a major shopping mall and easy freeway access. It is only about 25 miles from both Detroit and Ann Arbor, and has a strong residential base with many growing families. Opened in 2013, the new practice is a single-story, new office building just four miles from his previous location, making it convenient for existing patients. Dr. Paulson, a Dawson Academy-trained dentist who practices the Concept of Complete Dentistry, was very intent on making his new space a comfortable and warm environment.
“The doctor’s design concept was to build a first-class health care facility with a balance of the latest technology and the interior design comforts of home,” explains Mr. Santourian. “The new office makes a statement of quality from the instant the patient arrives. The circular design creates an excellent patient flow with a number of curved walls and angles, eliminating a ‘boxy’-looking suite.”
Warm, relaxing tones, from deep brown to cream, are the foundation for the color theme and draw out not only the richness of the tile that lines the halls but also the dark cabinetry. Wood floors in the operatories make the patient care area seem more home-like, yet offer needed durability. Upholstered furniture is comfortable and relaxed, and the striking curved check-in desk is crafted of natural stone.
Five identical operatories are fully outfitted with Pelton & Crane chairs, rear delivery systems, and LED lights, and three more are ready to be outfitted as the practice grows. Each operatory is left/right compatible and has a window that brings in natural light, an improvement from the lower-level office the doctor left behind. A large, top-of-the-line sterilization center utilizes the clean lines of quartz in the countertops and backsplash. Centrally located to all of the patient-care rooms, this walk-through sterilization center is more spacious and efficient for the staff.
“The office has a tremendous circular floor plan for ease of patient and staff circulation,” adds Mr. Santourian.
“It is amazing,” Dr. Paulson agrees. “The new office, current staff, and support from Henry Schein communicate why we do what we do. We do exceptional dentistry. We change people’s lives. We just happen to do it with dentistry and a beautiful new facility.”
Expanding the Digital Footprint
One of the main items on the doctor’s wish list was expanding his digital imaging options, and with the new office, he had the space to replace an outdated panoramic with a Planmeca S3 ProMax 2D machine. In addition, he now uses iPads and iPods chairside to access two DEXIS apps. Using the slick touch-screen display, he shows patients their digital X-rays via the DEXIS go app, and with DEXIS photo, the staff can take pictures of patients and their smiles with a digital device and add them into an online file in a few seconds.
The paperless office relies on Dentrix as its practice-management software, eServices tools, including eClaims, and Dentrix Mobile, a natural addition to the practice that expands the staff’s ability to access practice management on a number of different devices. Henry Schein TechCentral set the specifications and handled the integration of the new computer equipment behind the scenes to ensure everything worked perfectly together.
After almost two years in the new office, Dr. Paulson is enjoying a 20 percent increase in production and collection and averages 30 new patients each month.
“Referrals from current patients are 90 percent of our new patient flow. It has increased dramatically since we opened the doors,” he reports.
He is now looking to the future with the hopes of adding another associate and a PlanScan system, which will allow the Doctor to offer same-day, in-office restorations. It’s the first step towards his plans of adding a complete onsite lab to the practice.
“We now have room to breath,” Dr. Paulson continues. “The staff feels a strong sense of pride coming into something new with good flow.” He credits his Henry Schein representatives and encourages other dentists thinking of building their own office with just two words: “Don’t hesitate!”