For dentist Michael Watts, his search for a new property to house his practice – Selbourne Dental Care – was quite simply a case of location, location, location. Having run the already well-established dental business in the Hertfordshire suburb of Potters Bar since the previous principal retired, Michael saw that his next task was to take it to a higher level – of both care and comfort.
He explains: ‘The location of the practice was important to me. The criteria were: to have a building that was spacious, to offer a tranquil and relaxing setting for staff and patients alike, and to provide sufficient parking and transport facilities within close proximity so it was easily accessible for my disabled patients.'
Dentistry proved to be the ideal career choice for Michael when he was deciding on his pathway. He says: ‘I was always interested in a medical career and wanted to combine it with a creative and artistic aspect – dentistry ticked these boxes.’
Graduating in 1988, he purchased Selbourne Dental Care 13 years ago after working as an associate dentist for three years. These days, the ethos of this private practice remains as dedicated to excellent patient care as it ever did. Selbourne provides a comprehensive range of dental services for the whole family – ranging from children to adolescents, adults and grandparents. It provides a whole raft of oral health care, from the provision of general dental care to more complex specialist services. And, as Michael is quick to point out, it provides this top quality dental service at an affordable price.
Michael says: ‘Having worked at Selbourne for three years as an associate, it came to represent all that I wanted in a dental practice. When the outgoing principal retired, I purchased it from him and haven’t looked back.'
Development of the practice’s new building took about 16 months, following many years of planning with the expected negotiations and consultations with architects and local council planning departments. Despite this lengthy time scale, Michael acknowledges that the team was fortunate to be able to work from the old building while renovation works were proceeding.
Michael happened upon the practice around the corner, just as the previous dentist decided to sell. It was serendipity that the property was available and he could develop one while continuing to see patients at the other.
The team at Selbourne consists of two full-time dentists, one part-time dentist, a hygienist, four dental nurses and two receptionists. The practice also employs specialists providing sedation treatments and implants.
With all the current regulatory changes – the introduction of Care Quality Commission a key factor – a decontamination room was required. The previous building was now too small to accommodate these necessary changes, so it was essential that the refurbishment of the new building would meet both these legal demands and the ambience Michael sought for his patients and staff.
With the refurbishment complete, there are now three fully equipped dental surgeries, a decontamination room, a staff room, reception and waiting room with separate staff and patient facilities. The result is an airy practice with Michael’s own surgery overlooking an expanse of beautifully landscaped garden. It is a modern and contemporary design that incorporates eye-pleasing architectural features such as curved walls, porthole doors and wide glass doors in the rear aspect. The double aspect waiting room adds to the feeling of openness.
For the new practice, Michael opted for a Takara Belmont Clesta II Treatment Centre explaining: ‘I have used Takara Belmont chairs for many years. I have found them to be reliable, easy to operate and have a good service support network. The team at Belmont was very helpful with advice regarding equipment choice and design. They were very considerate of my views and input. Colours are very important – I wanted a colour sequence that was modern, yet minimalist. I love the combination of a modern contemporary design and the increased space we now have to provide a quality dental service.'
Reaction to the surgery has been very positive. Michael says: ‘We are constantly striving to update our equipment, our knowledge, our skills and provide all the new aspects of dental care that are constantly evolving. Our previous accommodation was very small. We have had a large increase in patient numbers over the years. It became essential to improve the working environment of our staff and provide a more spacious, modern and aesthetically pleasing environment for our patients. I think we met the criteria!’
Michael Watts BDS qualified at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1988. Since moving to the UK, he has become the principal dentist at both Selbourne and Baker Street Dental Care in Hertfordshire. His primary interests are in cosmetic, restorative and periodontal treatments.