Embracing opportunity with dental practice refurbishment
What started out from humble beginnings in rented space in established dental practices, is now the thriving, three-strong practice of M-Brace Orthodontics, Scotland. Mr R R Mahesh, talks about his dental practice refurbishment and the challenges faced along the way to reaching this important milestone.
It began in 2009 with practices in Bathgate and Glenrothes. With nearly 10 years in business, I’d been looking to expand for a while. We already had quite a few patients in the Lanarkshire area travelling to our practices in Bathgate. So it felt like a natural progression to open a third practice here. Airdrie didn’t have an orthodontic specialist practice so was an ideal additional base.
We found a potential space for a new practice. Located in the same building as the Airdrie Community Health Centre, right next to the out-of-hours access entrance. The premises was actually ear-marked for a pharmacy but due to licence failure, had become vacant. It was an empty shell with metal support girders interspersed throughout.
Starting the dental practice refurbishment
As with my other practices, I take enormous pride in the service M-Brace provides. I believe such high-standards of service are only provided from equally impressive surroundings. Hence, the plan was to create a bright, open plan and modern space for the patients to relax, both in the waiting room and in the surgeries. I wanted to maximise the natural light available with the aim of creating a stunning modern practice, which would enable the team to deliver high-tech treatment and services to our patients.
The first step in achieving my dental practice refurbishment was to engage NVDC Architects to work with me to design the ideal layout. I wanted a practice that was not only aesthetically stunning but also had good functional flow. Configuring the rooms and the practice around the upright metal support girders was a challenge and meant we worked through many designs before the ideal layout, in the available space, was finalised. Then it was the job of the architects to bring the drawings to life and incorporate digital technology into the fabric of the building.
Dental practice refurbishment wasn’t the only hurdle to overcome. Throughout this phase, purchase negotiations were ongoing with the landlords’ team, an equity investment firm based in London and NHS Scotland’s Property, Estates & Facilities Department. The design of the building meant we needed to run services into the property through the communal areas. The Community Health Centre shared these communal areas and the basement plant room. After many weeks of delay in granting consent, the intervention of the local MSP was sought so the necessary work could go ahead.
Finally, with the design and purchase completed, the main building contractor IWT Dental and Primrose Property Services were able to start with the dental practice refurbishment in September 2018. It wasn’t for some six months though that the surgeries were ready for cabinetry, equipment and dental chairs.
Equipping the dental practice
Getting the right equipment was essential to my vision. After considering a few suppliers I went with DB Dental, with Charlie Cope being the main point of contact. I chose them for their competitive pricing, testimonials of good service and local presence. Charlie also helped install the surgery, LDU, X-ray room and laboratory cabinets. He was always available to offer advice and supervision when required. Throughout the dental practice refurbishment nothing was too much trouble for Charlie, and I would highly recommend his services.
DD provided the LDU equipment. They installed similar kit in my other two practices and provide a service contract for maintenance. DD managed to fit me in for a Saturday installation. This was because building delays meant the LDU room wasn’t ready in time for the original scheduled installation date.
For the dental chairs, I chose the Belmont Voyager III. My other two practices have these installed and I’ve had many years of almost trouble-free dentistry using them. In my opinion, the side arm delivery is more comfortable for children rather than over the patient delivery system, which makes the patient feel ‘trapped’. Also, it is very easy to change the chair between right and left-handed use. This enables any of our dental professionals to use each surgery.
Building in all the cabinetry, instruments and equipment created a clear working area. The surgery displays allow us to have information leaflets and oral hygiene aids on display. Computers are easily accessed by both the orthodontist and the dental nurse through two monitors in each surgery. Ceiling mounted TVs show movies and speakers play music. This provides patients with distraction and helps create a relaxed atmosphere for their orthodontic treatment. We are in the process of integrating digital scanners into the practice. This means patients never need to have the ‘dreaded impressions’.
‘Embrace life with a beautiful smile’
The end result of the dental practice refurbishment is a bright, clutter-free practice with three modern, spacious surgeries. The bright reception and waiting room area, I’m particularly pleased with. A woodland forest-themed picture covers the wall with LED sky panels in the ceiling. This creates the illusion of a nice, clear, sunny blue sky overhead, irrespective of the Scottish weather outside! It’s really good to hear how proud the staff are of their new practice. And how the patients appreciate it. Everyone is awed from the moment they walk in the door until they leave from their consultation. It’s a good start to helping our patients ’embrace life with a beautiful smile’.