Dental Practice Design Ideas*
*not just things that look pretty
‘Dental practice design ideas’ is a commonly searched term for dentists looking for visual inspiration for their dream practice. Yes, it’s always exciting to envision your end goal – how beautiful your shiny new practice could be. However, picking the perfect colour palette to match your branding should not take up all your focus.
A great looking practice that has neglected functional design elements, is not a great practice. Outside of clinical functionality, accessibility and parking will always be less exciting to plan or design, and while the end user may not even notice these design elements, they are equally important to a successful practice.
So, outside of the things that make your dental practice look great, what design elements need to be considered?
Making your dental practice easy to interpret for your patients is essential to a successful operating practice.
Wayfinding refers to the signage and information externally and within the practice that is used to guide people through the environment based on their destination. Basically, helping them find their way!
Wayfinding is often overlooked in smaller practices, with owners often failing to put themselves in the position of a new patient entering the practice for the first time. While you are very familiar to your workplace, the last thing a patient wants is to be confused and stressed at the beginning of their visit.
When wayfinding is implemented during the early design stages, the positive outcomes will be ongoing:
- Reduce patient stress / frustration
- Increase accessibility
- Increase practice safety
If your clients do not have to think about the process, or even notice how they were guided through your clinic, it usually means your wayfinding is effectively designed.
The ability for all persons to access your clinic is imperative and can often shape many aspects of a dental clinic’s design.
Accessibility refers to physical, communication, and mental access. The design of your practice can either help or hinder people in each of these categories.
From the appointment making process, to physically entering your clinic, long before you even see a patient, accommodating these clients is essential, and is a consideration that OPTIMA ensures is covered during design, through to construction of a practice.
You need patients in your chairs to be making money. Your patients need a place to park when they visit. A major gripe with many patients is difficult access of parking. Again, making the process of visiting a dentist as stress-free as possible is key to building a list of ongoing, happy patients.
What to consider:
- Supply vs demand – How many patients can you service at any given time? Per hour. Per day. In the chair plus in the waiting room. What are your peak times and client numbers?
- Will you be sharing parking with other tenants or will you have a car park dedicated to your business?
- Compliance/zoning regulations – minimum parking requirements and accessibility/ disabled parking spaces.
- Does your parking allow for safe flow of traffic?
- If you are renovating as existing space, does the current parking situation meet your planned customer demands?
- Effective signage
While the above may not be the first design elements you consider for your new dental clinic – and won’t be the most obvious to your patients – considering them as early as possible will save you and your patients many headaches down the track.
OPTIMA covers all aspects of dental clinic design, both aesthetic to functional. Instead of heading to Pinterest for your next design inspo session, give us a call to chat through your plans.