After several years in dentistry and having a successful practice, Dr. Jerome Caouette decided to make a big transition in his dental career by moving from his existing clinic to a new location and an entirely new patient base. South Central Dentistry is essentially a start-up for the doctor even though he had been practicing for many years. Located in the southern part of Edmonton, AB, conveniently accessible from different parts of the city, the 3,400 square-foot practice is contemporary with crisp lines, a subdued color palette and enough room for the latest technology allowing the doctor to expand the type of dentistry he offers.
Dr. Caouette’s previous clinic was in a bustling neighborhood close to the University of Alberta. His patient load had a significant number of college students who came in with pain and needed single restorations and relief. Since college students are often on tight budgets, they only had the funds to complete the most pressing dental problems, so many never came back for other treatments. That made growing a business and gaining referrals more difficult. The doctor wasn’t doing the high-level, comprehensive dentistry he enjoyed.
His existing clinic was fairly modern, but it did have some issues that held him back. Parking was limited, and there wasn’t extra square footage to incorporate new technology that was on his wish list, like a 3D cone beam. There were five operatories, but because he wanted to keep more of his services in-house, he needed more treatment rooms in which to work.
After discussions with Grey Knechtel, a Henry Schein Equipment Sales Specialist, and Bob Piercy Field Sales Consultant, they brought in another Schein partner, Cirrus Consulting, to conduct a space analysis on the existing practice. They concluded that to meet the doctor’s goals – more referrals; more comprehensive, complex cases; and a wider range of services to attract returning patients, the practice should be rebuilt in a new location. Together, they located space in the professional building on Gateway Boulevard, a busy, urban area.
Dr. Caouette considered running both practices but when another doctor offered to buy the existing office and its patient load, the doctor chose to move forward, realizing he would truly be starting at ground zero to build up a new practice from scratch.
Modern, Upscale Ambiance
Once the doctor embraced building a new practice, he moved forward with a specific vision in mind.
“I wanted it to be timelessly modern with clean lines,” said Dr. Caouette. “My own home is very modern, and I wanted to feel at home in my work surroundings. When patients come in the door, I want them to know they are receiving up-to-date services, and this office says that.”
The crisp ambiance is created with an abundance of pure white walls and lighting along with DIRT engineered, moveable glass walls. Natural wood slat accents hang on the walls and from the ceiling. The original design planned for eight operatories, and three are currently equipped. Gradually, more rooms will come online as the patient load increases. Sight lines and natural light flow through the whole of the office, creating an expansive feeling.
“Because the interior glass walls took the longest to fabricate and ship, the fixed walls and ceilings had to be completed ahead of time but to exacting standards,” explained the doctor, who praised the precise collaboration of Henry Schein with Seagate Construction. Grey noted that the beautiful office was in the planning stage for 8-12 months, but construction went very smoothly, and it was built in just three.
The waiting area is large, with plenty of seating in white and chrome, a coffee bar, large television and unique log tables that the doctor cut and finished from the willow tree in his very own backyard. There are splashes of color in some of the lights in the hallway and scattered artwork throughout the office. Once in the clinical area, there are three operatories, a walk-through glass-walled sterilization area, a lab, and an imaging alcove. At the back, the staff enjoys a large, open lounge that is equipped for continuing education and meetings.
Jennifer Buchanan Interior Designs, a partner Grey uses often, designed the office and won a Gold medal for her efforts from MASI Design Awards, which recognizes exceptional professionals and their work throughout Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In its award description, the organization described the office as “dynamic and calm.”
“There is a lot of room to move but nothing is too far out of reach,” commented Dr. Caouette. The operatories line each side of the office with three treatment rooms set in the middle. A singular hallway connects them all, winding from front to back, passing by the imaging alcove, lab and sterilization center, all within a few steps of the operatory.
The operatories are serene in white with glass walls. When selecting the operatory equipment, the doctor went with what he already knew and liked.
“Dr. Caouette was always a Sirona fan and loved the seamless integration the treatment centers bring” said Grey. The brightly hued upholstery is a cheerful addition to the monochrome rooms. Kappler’s minimalist yet extremely functional cabinetry, complete the operatory’s modern feel.
3-D Digital Imaging Attracts More Complex Cases
With the goal of keeping as many dental services in-house as possible, the doctor wanted to up his digital imaging technology to the highest level. For that reason, he invested in an i-CAT 3D cone beam and said it is the piece of equipment that has made the largest impact on the new practice.
“Diagnosis and treatment planning take on a whole new meaning,” admits Dr. Caouette. “It has changed the way I practice dentistry.”
Dentrix practice management interconnects all of the doctor’s technology, making it easily accessible from every part of the practice. It also presents a well-organized workflow that contributes to a higher comfort level for patients who are then more accepting of treatment recommendations.
Adding to the high-tech, upscale image of the practice is the open Pelton & Crane Solaris sterilization center that is sleek and fully open to patient view. The move to higher-end equipment in every aspect of the practice is a direct contributor to attracting higher end dentistry, confirmed Bob Piercy.
“Regardless of what point you are in your career,” said Grey, sharing what he would tell other established dentists who might wonder if it’s too late to build a new office, “you can still make a change and practice the type of dentistry you have always wanted to do.” Dr. Caouette would certainly agree.
“The excitement we see with patients, especially long-standing patients has increased referrals. We now offer Botox, Invisalign and expanded sedation services. We all have renewed excitement about our work, and everyone is very proud of the new clinic. Many thanks to Henry Schein for pulling it all together and making it happen!”