A dental office is a place that needs to be both comforting and inviting. No one likes going to the dentist, so setting the right environment can make all the difference. If patient retention is important to you, and it should be, then really getting in tune with the patient’s psychology is what matters.
Subconscious Considerations when Designing Your Dental Office
It’s crazy, but the majority of architectural and interior design for a dental office should come down to the subconscious factors. You really want a place that will leave the patient feeling comfortable and welcomed when they are done. Otherwise, they just subconsciously see the dental office as a place they want to avoid and this will limit their return visits and recommendations to friends, family, and co-workers.
So, let’s jump into a list of five helpful tips for building a beautiful dental office while keeping the subconscious factor in mind.
1) Curb Appeal
From the very start, we want to make sure the curb appeal of our office is impeccable. How can we do that? Think about a person’s smile – it’s literally the first impression they can make on you. So, think about what would capture the attention of bystanders, without taking away from the fact that it’s the office space for dental professionals.
Not sure what works? Here’s an example. Sure, it may look like the front doors at the well-televised American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit, Michigan, from Hardcore Pawn, but it holds prominence in the area.
It doesn’t have to be overly extravagant. However, the most important thing is to differentiate your office from the countless others that just look like little office spaces in strip malls.
Getting past the front door, you have to remember the immediate environment will set the tone for their first impression of the inside. It may not create the tone, but it gets them prepared. This is the pre-cursor to something awesome or something horrible.
The main concern here is the openness of the space. You want a fair amount of open space, but not to the extent that it’s one big gymnasium. You simply want to avoid making them feel enclosed. Dental offices bring out anxiety in many people. An enclosed environment will only worsen this feeling. An overly open area would make them more self-conscious as more people can see them, there’s too much to take in – makes sense, right?
3) Front Desk
The front desk is the greeting point. The first impression will be set from the entirety of the environment, but the front desk is where you can captive the visitor. Of course, you have the friendliness factor down pat, so it’s just a matter of having the right front desk set-up.
The location of the desk is important. You want it to be in an area that’s not too far or hard to navigate from the front door. You may also want to have a general waiting area there, so no one feels lost. The idea of going to a front desk to be forwarded elsewhere in the building can be a bit overwhelming.
4) Waiting Area
Ah, the waiting area…the one place that many dental offices fail at the most. See, the first big mistake with designing the layout for the waiting area is simply placing it too close to the front desk. No one wants to be waiting for their appointment while overhearing the painful procedures or high costs of the treatments that others are getting.
So, make the waiting area more private and secluded. This will zone them into the whole waiting mode, which can be negative since the upcoming procedures may not be ideal. However, you can pull them away from this variable a bit simply by spicing things up in the waiting area. This may be with a decorative fireplace, a cute play area for kids, or practically anything that’s attention grabbing, but not pertinent to the negative and unappealing aspects of dentistry.
Keeping a slight open concept can help as well. The whole open flow to your entire dental office is very important.
5) Dentist’s Office
The whole experience at the dental office leads to the patient entering into the dentist’s office, or the dental hygiene professional (www.mydentalhygienistschools.com), of course. Now, this is the one room where you want to kind of keep things basic, but not to the point where they feel like they’re in a doctor’s office at the hospital. You can find numerous examples of modern, upbeat, yet classy designs for a dentist’s offices.
Of course, if the rest of the office is all futuristic or highly architectural, or if the building permits for crazy designs, then you should definitely go ahead and pull off the most amazing thing you can create. For example, here’s an extravagant design. Of course, this isn’t the best choice for a few obvious reasons – who wants strangers to watch them get treated? Still, it sets the tone for the level of creativity that can be used when designing a dental office.