Dental suite design: Key considerations for success

Companion animals develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they are three years old. Your best bet for helping patients avoid painful oral disease is annual comprehensive oral and radiographic evaluations (CORE) under anesthesia.

If you’ve been considering a more comprehensive dentistry program or expanding your hospital to increase the number of patients you treat, the following can help you get started on designing your dental space.

  1. Maximize Efficiency, Capacity and Safety

An optimal dentistry space isn't just about replacing or upgrading old equipment. A space designed to streamline care, enhance patient and staff safety, and increase accessibility at the point of care makes treating more patients possible.

  • Efficiency: Designated dentistry spaces support the standardization of workflow and patient care, enhancing clinical efficiency and patient flow.
  • Capacity: Adopting a comprehensive dentistry program in your hospital allows you to perform multiple CORE procedures, five days a week. Two tables are optimal for performing CORE procedures at the same time and treating more patients per day.
  • Safety: A 10 feet by 17 feet space allows a minimum of 6 feet between tables, creating safety-related distances from X-ray radiation and aerosolized bacteria.
  1. Support Care Team Comfort and Movement

Comfort impacts the health and safety of your staff. Your dental suite design needs enough room for staff to easily access and care for patients. Additionally, ergonomically supportive equipment can help lower strain and stress injuries.

  • Support: Ergonomic seating and equipment that properly aligns the neck, spine and hips can reduce muscular tension and fatigue. Similarly, swivel handpieces help reduce wrist tension and fatigue.
  • Reach: Placing larger equipment, such as X-ray and dental machines, at the point of care limits unnecessary reach during procedures.
  • Visibility: Adjustable procedure lights provide better illumination and truer tissue color visualization.
  1. Dentistry is Worth the Investment

Comprehensive dentistry services benefit your patients by enhancing their health and reducing—or even preventing—periodontal and related other diseases. Creating standards of care around dentistry can also bolster your hospital’s revenue. How? Consider first-year results1 from veterinary hospitals that launched comprehensive dentistry programs:

  • Added $75,000 of incremental revenue.
  • Doubled the number of patients treated for periodontal disease.
  • Tripled productivity as measured by revenue per doctor.

Start Designing Your Ideal Dental Suite

Incorporating best-practice design elements will help you optimize workflow and safety for staff and patients. To set the stage for better patient outcomes and practice growth, invest in team training to ensure your entire team is clinically and confidently prepared to treat more patients.

With a robust plan for your dental space—and the staff working in it—you’ll create an environment where your staff will enjoy working and your patients will benefit for years to come.

1 Cindy Charlier, DVM, Dip AVDC, Andrew Schultz, Jr. MBA. “Double Your Dentistry Study: 5 Practices and Their Keys to Success.”

(Photo courtesy of Midmark Animal Health)

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