What started out from humble beginnings in rented space in established dental practices, is now the thriving M-Brace Orthodontics, which has just opened its third practice.
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. There was no orthodontic specialist practice in Airdrie, making it an ideal additional base.
We found a potential space for M-Brace Orthodontics. 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. Metal support girders interspersed throughout the empty shell.
As with my other practices, I take enormous pride in the service M-Brace Orthodontics provides. I believe that such high standards of service can only be 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.
Designing the ideal M-Brace Orthodontics
The first step was to engage NVDC Architects to work with me on designing the ideal layout. I wanted M-Brace Orthodontics to be a practice that was not only aesthetically stunning but also had good functional flow. Configuring the rooms and M-Brace Orthodontics around the upright metal support girders was a challenge. It meant we worked through many designs before finalising the ideal layout, in the available space. Then it was the job of the architects to bring the drawings to life. And to incorporate digital technology into the fabric of the building.
Designing the space wasn’t the only hurdle to overcome. Throughout this phase, purchase negotiations were ongoing with the landlord’s team, an equity investment firm based in London and NHS Scotland’s Property, Estates and Facilities department.
The design of the building meant we needed to run services into the property through the communal areas shared with the Community Health Centre and basement plant room. After many weeks of delay in granting consent, seeking the intervention of the local MSP meant the necessary work could finally go ahead.
Finally, with the design and purchase completed, the main building contractor IWT Dental and Primrose Property Services were able to start work in September 2018. It wasn’t for some six months though that we installed the cabinetry, equipment and dental chairs.
Equipping the 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 involved himself in the installation of the surgery, LDU, X-ray room and laboratory cabinets and was always available to offer advice and supervision when required. Throughout the installation 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 their maintenance. They managed to fit me in for a Saturday installation. 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. I’ve installed these chairs in my other two practices 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 than the over the patient delivery system. This could make the patient feel ‘trapped’. Also, it is very easy to change the chair between right- and left-handed use. This enables any dental professional to use each surgery.
All the cabinetry together with every instrument and piece of equipment is built in, leaving a clear working area. The surgery displays allow us to have information leaflets on display and oral hygiene aids to show patients when giving instructions. Two monitors in each surgery allow easy access to the computers by both the orthodontist and the dental nurse. And ceiling-mounted TVs show movies and speakers play music. It provides patients with distraction and helps create a relaxed atmosphere for their orthodontic treatment.
We are in the process of integrating digital scanners into M-Brace Orthodontics. So patients never need to have the ‘dreaded impressions’.
‘Embrace life with a beautiful smile’
The end result is a bright, clutter-free practice with three modern, spacious surgeries. I’m particularly pleased with the bright reception and waiting room area. A woodland forest-themed picture wall complements the reception 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 M-Brace Orthodontics and how patients appreciate it. Patients are awed right 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’.