Designing Dental Spaces that Work Better.

Designing Dental spaces that work better.

5 ergonomic tips to increase the productivity of your practice.

Ergonomics is the science of making workspaces and workflows meet the needs of those that work in those spaces, instead of the other way around. Keeping this design philosophy in mind is vital in the modern dental practice.

OPTIMA’s design and construction team draws inspiration from architecture and interior design when it comes to designing a dental practice that is functionally ergonomic. The overarching benefit of ergonomic practice design is having a safer, healthier, and more productive space. Here are five ergonomic tips to increase the productivity of your practice and the wellbeing of your staff.

1. Allow for movement and workflows

With staff coming in and out of surgeries – in a multi-dentist practice where time is shared between patients – good ergonomic design gives optimal space for movement behind the head of the patient chair when in the reclining position, and sufficient space to get past the chair when entering or exiting the room. Lack of space reduces movement, which can cause cramps and musculoskeletal complaints over time.

2. Less physical clutter = less mental clutter

Minimalist design supports productivity as it is far easier for the human mind to focus in an organised and tidy environment. A study from Princeton Neuroscience Institute found that having too many visual simulations in a workspace competes for your attention resulting in fewer mental resources available for optimal focus. Designing and constructing a space that is light and considered will result in a modern looking and functionally productive dental practice.

3. Streamline operations with efficient design

Maximising the amount of space in a practice has the added benefit of reducing costs and increasing performance. Designing systems that control the flow of work, be it from retrieving inventory from storage or leading patients in and out of practice spaces, ergonomic design can also be a highly productive design. Ergonomic design can eliminate bottlenecks, improve functionality, and enhance the patient experience.

4. The impact of colour

Colour is a human perception, however, the reaction colours create within our bodies make it far more than that, colour is emotive, it creates a feeling. Colours initiate an emotional response because they transmit wavelengths that trigger hormone changes in our bodies.1 Both blue and green hues can reduce anxiety and lower heart rates, while white signifies cleanliness, safety, and purity. 

The use of these colours is effective in enhancing positive patient experiences, reducing anxiety and showing the patient that you have taken the time to design and construct a space that takes their experience into consideration.

5. Use a tailored and optimised approach

No two dentists or indeed dental practices are the same, as practice philosophy and practitioner values differ greatly. That’s why a tailored and optimised approach to your space and needs is essential for a productive and efficient practice. Using an agile process – which incorporates changes to designs as different priorities and workflow congestion points become apparent – can ensure a well optimised and ergonomically designed workplace and an enhanced patient experience.


To find out more, talk to OPTIMA about designing and constructing an ergonomically elevated practice, one that delivers for practice necessities, staff needs and prioritises patient experience. We welcome you to join us on our journey to change public perception of dentistry. 

  1. Meerwein, G. et al. (2007). Color– Communication in architectural space. Basel: Birkhauser Verlag

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