Designing Treatment Rooms
Are you ready to get started equipping yourself and dental team for treating patients? Before you rush out and buy the first treatment equipment you find, stop to design your treatment rooms. Decide how many treatment rooms you want to make from the space you have available. Then, get to work designing the rooms on your own or with the help of a treatment room designer.
Is It Really Possible to Get Treatment Room Design Services for Free?
As a dentist, you buy your dental equipment from resellers who get their equipment from the manufacturers. Typically, the reseller offers you design services “for free” if you purchase the equipment from them. However, it is questionable whether those services are actually free or whether the cost of providing the design is hidden in the cost of the equipment. The design service does cost something for the reseller’s company, so it makes sense that it is being made up somewhere in the purchase. The good news is that dental equipment is their business. They have a strong knowledge base to draw upon. The bad news is that you will have to be cautious in taking their advice and avoid getting expensive equipment that does not meet your needs.
How Many Treatment Rooms Do You Need?
In most cases, one dentist and one dental hygienist need 5 treatment rooms for a thriving dentistry business. The dentist uses two, the hygienist uses two, and one is reserved for overflow and emergencies. If you are just starting out, two treatment rooms can suffice until you build your clientele. However, you should be ready to equip additional treatment rooms as soon as you need them.
Basic Design Considerations
Your treatment rooms need to be as uniform in size and layout as possible. The treatment rooms also need to be located as close to each other as possible so dentist and hygienist can move quickly and easily from one to another.You also need to make sure your treatment rooms are accessible for patients with disabilities. They should be large enough to accommodate a wheelchair next to the patient treatment chair.
The support equipment should all be easily accessed by the dentist and dental assistant. To make this possible, you need at least 72 cm of space from each side of the head of the treatment chair to the wall. Delivery systems can be behind the patient, over the patient or on carts. Treatment room windows should face the North or East if possible, to avoid glare from the sun during the hottest part of the day. The plumbing may need to be altered based on the types of equipment you choose.
Treatment Room Configurations
Treatment room designers typically use one of three types of configurations. Understanding them can help you have a meaningful discussion with the designer about how to place the equipment. These three configurations can have different impacts on patient care as well as your comfort and ease in working.If you are using an existing building and do not plan to remodel, the configuration may be decided for you, but it is helpful to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The “H” configuration is a favorite of most dentists. It has four doors: two at each side of the front of the room and two at each side of the room facing the foot of the patient treatment chair.
- Ease of movement in and out of the room by dentist, staff and patients
- Requires two hallways
- Increases cost of building or remodeling
- Does not allow the patient a pleasant view during treatment
The “U” configuration places a door on each side of the head of the patient treatment chair. Dentist and patient move through one of the doors and staff move through the other.
- Patient can look at the view outside a window or at art on the wall at their feet
- Head of patient treatment chair can be in a non-traffic area
- Carts and tubing can be placed in the non-traffic area
- Allow easy movement to and from the treatment chair.
The “Y” configuration works when you have only one door into the treatment room. The dentist, staff and patient move through this one door at the side or foot of the patient treatment chair.
- Lower cost for building and remodeling and possibly no need for structural remodeling
- Dentists and staff have to move farther to get from one treatment room to another
Planning for Equipment Placement
All your treatment rooms need to have the same basic dental equipment laid out in the same way for all rooms. After reviewing the literature and websites of equipment resellers, think about what types of equipment you need as you get started and what you might like to add in the future. Plan to place as much of the equipment as possible along the long axis of the patient chair. If you are using a treatment room designer, share with him or her your unique vision for how you will treat patients. . Together, you can plan the best positions to place the equipment in the treatment rooms.