As noted by DentalEconomics.com, by the year 2020 pediatric dentists are expected to comprise the second-largest group of practicing dentists — which means that competition for family loyalty and referrals will grow even more intense than it is now.
Of course, families will ultimately choose (or in some cases, change) their pediatric dentist based on a variety of key factors, such as what solutions and services are offered, billing policies, local proximity, and so on.
However, less obviously to some pediatric dentists — but by no means unimportant to families — is the overall office design. In other words: parents, grandparents, and all others who are tasked to “take the kids to the dentist” need to feel, see and experience that the environment is both kid-centric and adult-friendly.
To that end, here are three pediatric dental office design tips that can go a very long way toward keeping existing families on the roster, while bringing new families on board through referrals and recommendations.
Tip #1: Don’t just give kids stuff — also give them space!
Most pediatric offices have toys, activities and games for kids, including everything from coloring books to the latest video game systems. However, what many practices overlook is that kids don’t just want stuff to play with; they also want space to move around — especially if (like most kids!) they aren’t thrilled about being at the dentist, and have an abundance of nervous, restless energy. Providing ample, adequate play area space gives kids the opportunity to stretch out, move around, and essentially re-purpose the environment to fit their creative preferences.
#2: Bright, colorful, and fun are guiding design principles.
Dental practices that cater to adults often lean toward a more low-key, laid-back design style that is more like a soothing med spa than a conventional dental office. However, pediatric practices should think more along the lines of Dr. Seuss, the Muppets, and Disney when it comes to making their environment bright, colorful, and fun.
For example, the walls and even the ceilings can be painted with delightful murals depicting kid-centric themes (fantasy quest, underwater exploration, jungle adventure, etc.), and instead of conventional chairs kids can enjoy comfortable, movable bean bag chairs.
At the same time, it is very important to extend the kid-centric design into the treatment rooms, and not just limit it to the waiting area. Some practices even have different themes in various rooms, and give them names that kids can identify with (“today we’ll be going into the outer space adventure room!”).
#3: Don’t forget about parents!
Last but certainly not least: while kids are obviously the “star of the show” when it comes to pediatric dental office design, it is important to remember that parents (or grandparents, relatives, or other legal guardians accompanying kids to the dentist) deserve to have a positive experience as well.
To that end, the practice should have fast and reliable wi-fi access, sufficient device-charging options (both conventional plugs and USB ports), beverage stations (water, coffee, tea, juice, etc.), comfortable seating, and suitable lighting for either work or relaxation. In-office video (24-hour news station or pre-programmed content) is also a good idea.
At the same, parents should be able to keep an eye on their kids at all times while they are in the waiting room, as should the reception staff so they can ensure that everyone is having a safe, happy time.
To learn more about optimizing your pediatric dentist office design — either by refreshing your current space, or working with you to create something brilliant and new — contact the Key Interiors team today. We know how to make your environment both kid-centric and adult-friendly, so that your roster stays full of happy, loyal families!
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