One of the key “anxiety triggers” for people who are reluctant to see the dentist is the clinical look and feel of dental environments. Uncomfortable plastic chairs in the waiting room, buzzing fluorescent lights, PEOPLE Magazines, –– these factors can all contribute to a negative experience at a dental practice. Indeed, just thinking about it is enough to convince many patients to put off going to the dentist.
Fortunately, while this may have been the norm in the past, it certainly doesn’t need to be now and going forward — which is particularly good news for dentists who want to increase their scalability. And what dentist wouldn’t want happy, relaxed patients who look forward to their visit instead of dreading it? To that end, here are three creative dentist office design ideas that can turn dread into delight:
Create a Home Away from Home
Comfy couches. Bean-bag chairs. Wood paneling, homey rugs and lamps. No, this isn’t a furniture and fixture to-do list for a cool den: it’s a formula for creating a “home-away-from-home” dental office look and feel — one that patients find familiar, soothing and relaxing. Remember, anything you can do to make your patients feel at ease will improve their experience at your office. And things like fast-connecting WiFi aren’t a luxury anymore –– they’re a necessity for most businesses. Indeed, if you can promise that a patient can stay connected and work on their laptop or smartphone until the minute you’re ready for them, more people with busy schedules will be willing to take time out to visit.
Integrate Welcoming, Inspiring Decor
Patients who are nervous about their dental appointment can be assuaged with proper wall decorations. Consider adding new, uplifting artwork to your waiting areas. It may seem like a little, thing, but shaking up your space with engaging posters and pictures can allow the mind to wander, when otherwise, patients may be focused on a big dental procedure. If possible, also consider adding a well-positioned television for your patients to divulge in while waiting. Again, you don’t have to break the bank to put your customers at ease –– just be willing to add a few creature comforts!
Utilize an Open Concept
An open concept minimizes walls and partitions and creates a more spacious look and feel (even though the square footage doesn’t increase). Patients tend to find this type of environment more relaxing, since they aren’t sequestered away in a corner. They can see the reception area, for instance, and won't be terrified of entering the “treatment zone” somewhere in the back. Also, consider segregating areas for children to let off steam. The last thing an anxious dental patient wants to deal with is a nervous or crying child.
And in regard to the treatment zone: co-locating patients in a larger treatment area is not only much more cost-effective than having individual rooms, but patients generally feel safer and more at ease when they can see other patients. It’s a kind of “strength-in-numbers” and “we’re-all-in-this-together” mentality. In this same vein, make sure your staff is visible and accessible to anyone who has a question or concern. The more transparent you and your team are, the better your patients are likely to feel about your practice.
To learn more about bringing these — and many other — dental office design ideas to life in your growing business, contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation with us is free.
And for more information on the signs you should be looking for to determine if your office needs a renovation now instead of later, download our FREE eBook: