The main reason we all want to have successful clinics is for a better future for our self and our families. It is important to design clinics in such a way that they can accommodate any future additions and changes. It is very important to understand the clinician’s idea and patient’s idea of a clinic. A patient may want a clean, nonsmelly, private chamber clinic where as the clinician will want a more functionally stable, well-equipped operatory. As both the needs are different, we need to have a balance between the two and create that balance in our clinics. From a clinician’s point of view, one must have a vision of his future clinic and ideas to execute them. Some may wish to expand; some may wish to make it more functional.
Let us start with basic planning…
There should be smooth flow in work. There should be continuity from the reception till the working area to the restroom and to the laboratory room. The size of each room can be decided on the needs of a clinician. He may have a big reception and compromise on his chamber/ laboratory room or vice versa. The size of the treatment rooms should be such that the clinician, patient and the assistant get enough space and none of them feel claustrophobic. Some clinics have really small treatment rooms probably by no choice. For such rooms, concentrate on colours and lighting to make it look bigger.
It can be different in different sections of the clinic. The reception can have a nice wooden or marble flooring to add that classy effect. Now days we have tiles which have wooden effect given to them. They look really good and are low maintenance. Carpets can be used in reception but not in treatment room, considering the difficulty to clean them and maintain infection control. The treatment and the cleaning room can have tiles which can be cleaned easily. Make sure your tiles are anti-slippery.
Colours and lighting
The lighting and the colours should be soothing and create a harmony for the mind to relax. They should complement the surrounding and make it look peaceful and serene. Having windows and natural light also soothes the mind and helps in better shade selection. Shade selection is an important often ignored aspect. Finally it’s all about the end result of an aesthetic case, however, beautiful your teeth preparations are, shade match has be to perfect. The treatment room should have ambient lighting with no shadows or dark areas. Colour theme for the flooring, walls and equipments can be in sync. Cool colours, pastel shades of green, blue and purple can be used in the treatment room. Warmer colours in shades of red, yellow and orange can be used in the reception.
This is the area that should provide the clinician with peace. When you work, it should increase your productivity. It should not fatigue you and make your mind and body tired. There should be enough room for both the clinician and the assistant to work freely. The range of motion should be greater than 180 degrees. This area should have maximum space for all the instruments and equipments.
Turn in one of your walls for photography. Documentation is a very important and forgotten aspect of our practices. There are various advantages of documentation. The first is you have a legal record of the work done. Secondly, one can learn so many things from pictures. The patient also feels special and that glamour quotient is added.
Dentistry is going through lot of digital development. Though one may not have the finances to have better equipped clinics today, but surely things will be different in future. One may then wish to have an in house OPG machine or CBCT machines. One should plan for space accordingly in the present to accommodate in the future. Many people now can afford such machines but due to lack of space are unable to have them.
Looking professional and appealing is need of the time. There should be architectural and design balance with clinical needs, ergonomics and technology. Patients would like to go to a clinic which is well organised, equipped, provide quality service and excellent presentation. If you do not have such a vision to design and plan, hire professional designers and architects who will help you to execute your needs in a better and planned way.
Stay tuned for part 3………..where we discuss various sections in a dental clinic and their designing and importance in detail.
You can contact us if you need help in designing your clinics.
Dr Debashree Chandak
BDS, MClinDent (FRP4, Prosthodontics) King’s College London
B.Arch, Masters in Interiors and Living Design (DOMUS academy Milan, Italy)