How to Redesign Your Dental Practice Space

Aesthetics aside, dental practices have largely consisted of a check-in desk, patient treatment chair, and necessary tools within reach. But COVID-19 has forced dentists to rethink so many aspects of their dental practices, not least of which is the physical space that they occupy. In the best interest of staff and patients, dental practices have taken cues from hospitals and redesigned their spaces to optimize their space. Here are some key suggestions for which design options to carry forward. 

Functional and psychological needs

In response to the needs of dentists and patients, dental practices were outfitted with increased air quality and infection control, in addition to heightened personal protective equipment and storage, in order for everyone to feel safe. This includes cleanliness and physical distancing while maintaining an atmosphere that aligns with the practice’s values. Well after the pandemic is over, these measures will keep staff and patients feeling safe and taken care of.

Separate zones

The layout of a dental practice should enhance efficiency and flow while creating ease of movement, reducing stress, and saving time. Defining zones for the public, clinical staff, and team helps to avoid cross-contamination and implement engineering controls and air quality measures. Eliminating clutter and bottlenecks can create a natural flow for patients and staff. This can also include designated “clean” and “dirty” spaces for sterile processing of debris and contaminants, preparation and packaging, and storage.

Open versus closed spaces

Walls or no walls — that is the question. COVID-19 has created new concerns about air quality and aerosol containment that add additional considerations for approaching operatory design. Which one might yield the healthiest environment for patients and staff includes taking into consideration quality of life at work, including containing contaminated air and integrating air purification techniques.

What’s next?

Contact the experts at Professional Transition Strategies for more guidance on how to navigate your dental practice post-COVID-19.