Minimalism in the Dental Office – A New Frontier?

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We all know the dentist’s office comes with certain trappings that give away its identity immediately. Big x-ray machines, a specific grey carpeting, stiff waiting room chairs and an almost uniform set of toys for the littlest patients.

But, when it comes down to it, many dentists, as well as other healthcare providers are taking the modern minimalist design trend and applying it to their practice.

Thinking outside the box is often out of the question for many doctors and dentists, because of the design constraints put into play with safety standards and more. We spoke with Vivek Kinra of VIP Dental and he provided some insights into why he and his wife, Dr. Lyudmila Tavolzhanskaya (Dr. Lyuda) settled on a minimalist approach to setting up their practice, versus sticking to the more traditional dental space.

Rethinking the Office Flow

Dr. Lyuda wanted a practice that was a little different than the cookie cutter norm you’d see in a number of dental offices. Her experience was working one chair at a time with rotating hygienists, and a dependency on big machines and stationery furniture. After nine years as a dentist, she realized that there’s a lot you can really do without, and the extra machinery only adds costs and clutter to the equation.

Instead, Vivek says, VIP opted to forgo in-room cabinetry and sinks attached to the wall—the things you’ll come across in nearly every dental office you’ve been in, without giving it much thought. Things like headlamps in place of stationery ones and replacing x-ray machines with a portable model known as a Nomad, allow both portability and flexibility, enabling Dr. Lyuda and her staff to move between a few patients at a time, without sacrificing quality.

Modern Dental Office Design

Work Only with What You Need

While Dr. Lyuda decided to build her practice from the ground up, there was still some input required from an expert. VIP enlisted the help of a dental contractor to do some of the building code-specific tasks, but ultimately she consulted her knowledge of dentistry to scale VIP back to the essentials, leaving plenty of room to cultivate an upscale, comfortable environment. VIP decided to ditch the monolithic overhead lamps in favor of headlamps that move along with the dentist and assistants. Their philosophy is centered around the idea of reducing anxiety by keeping dental equipment and clutter to a minimum, but there’s a practicality to this thought process, too.

Keeps Costs Down

Aside from the change in the overall feel of the space, forgoing certain pieces of furniture and equipment can really put some funds back into your budget, allowing you to focus on using that money for marketing or things like iPads and refreshments that make patients feel more comfortable while they sit in the waiting room.

VIP Dental Lounge is one of the few dental offices with this type of attention toward design, but aesthetics aside, adopting a minimalist approach clearly has a vast range of benefits from workflow to budgeting, to the numerous intangible benefits in offering patients a clear, clean space where they can feel calm through each part of their procedure.

Here are the rest of our articles in this series. 

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