With Customer Comfort in Mind
It’s no secret that many people have anxiety about going to the dentist. This can range from mild nervousness all the way through debilitating fear that can actually keep people from seeing a dentist at all. Knowing this makes it especially important to consider your potential clients when designing your dental office. Patients want a space that is comfortable and peaceful, and will help them stay relaxed during their visit.
When your patients first enter your office, they should immediately feel comfortable and at home. The reception desk should be open and prominently placed, making it easy to speak with your receptionist or other staff members. Make sure to have basic supplies — like tissues, hand sanitizer, business cards and pens — easily accessible for your patients.
1. Paint Colors
It is known that room color can have an influence on how you feel. Therefore, consider using soothing paint colors to help your patients feel calmer. Some suggestions might include lighter shades of blue, mauve, beige or brown.
Keeping the waiting room light and bright will prevent from feeling claustrophobic or gloomy. Include several sources of light from different areas of the room if possible.
Make sure to select roomy and comfortable chairs or couches and have a lot of seating available. Be sure that everyone has a place to sit down if the waiting room gets crowded.
4. Reading Material
These days, nearly everyone is on their smartphone, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have an assortment of magazines or other reading materials available in your waiting room. Try to include educational information that may of particular interest to your patients. You can also inform your patients about new services, products, or even benefits like referral bonuses.
Also, think about your clientele. Do you see children? It will be helpful to have board books or toys that will entertain kids in your waiting room. You also should include a couple of magazine subscriptions that cater to adolescents if you see many teenagers in your practice. If your patients are mostly older adults, consider adding a few large print books.
5. The Details
Don’t forget to consider the small details that all contribute to a person’s experience in your office. Think about the smells that your patients experience (strong cleansers or anesthetics are particularly offensive or anxiety-inducing) and the music that is playing. Look at what is hanging on the wall and sitting on table surfaces to make sure that the space doesn’t look too cluttered.
It is crucial to not overlook the patient treatment area when looking to design your dental office. In addition to the décor considerations in the reception area (all of which are still applicable in the treatment area), there are a few other things which you should keep in mind too.
1. The Dental Chair
The dental chair is the focal point of your patients experience — it’s where your patients will spend a majority of their time — so it is important to make sure that it’s comfortable. Dental chairs like the KaVo ESTETICA E70/E80 Vision offer multiple recline angles and a special head cushion to provide comfort, even during long dental treatments, without sacrificing efficiency and workflow.
Most people appreciate a little distraction during their treatment. This could mean a digital music player and headphones or a flat screen TV that patients can watch. Consider mounting the TV on the ceiling so the patient can watch even when reclining in the dental chair. Make sure to allow the patient to select what they want to watch before starting their treatment.
3. Small Touches
There are many other small touches you can add on:
- Have a chair for a companion or parent to sit down
- Provide a hook for the patient to hang their coat and/or handbag
- Consider placing a small sink with a mirror, so the patient can check out their new dental work, rinse their mouth, or adjust their hair/makeup before leaving
It can be helpful to meet with your staff or ask your family and friends for their positive and negative experiences at their dental office. This can identify other unique ideas that you can identify into your design plan. If you consider the things above, your patients will have less anxiety about going to the dentist.