Five Reasons Why Working Out of One Treatment Room Only Is Killing Your Customer Service.

I’ve been operating my own Dental Office now for coming close onto twenty seven years.

For twenty five of those years I’ve operated and treated my patients and clients out of two treatment rooms, mainly alternating from one room to the other. So extensively, I’ve operated a single chair appointment book out of two chairs, rather than seeing two patients in tandem, at the same time.

There are a number of reasons why this method of treatment operation is best for doctors, for team members and also for your patients and customers. In fact, in my mind, operating a dental office out of one treatment room only is a great way of creating a more stressful dental career of much longer duration than it needs to be.

The key to the two-chair practice is to have sufficient dental assistants and auxiliary team members to allow the practice to operate seamlessly.

Being understaffed with two treatment rooms is definitely not the answer. With two treatment rooms, your office should be staffed by at least two dental assistants, one per room, along with sufficient front office members.

The five key reasons for operating your dental office out of two rooms instead of one are as follows:

Time Savings

Time is money. Wasted time is money down the drain.

When you operate a dental office out of only one room, as a dentist, you are spending an inordinate amount of time each day waiting for your treatment room to be torn down, cleaned up, and set up, between patients.

There is no way that this process can be done quickly and completely. And every minute, every second that that takes to do, is costing you money, in wasted opportunity.

A dentist working out of two treatment rooms can be calmly and efficiently working on his next patient in the second room while his assistant and team are tearing down and setting up the vacated treatment room without the pressures of time restraints.

Don’t believe me? Add up the total amount of wasted tear down time you have in each day, or each week. Work out how many fillings, crowns, or implants you could place in that time…

Multiply that time out over one year, and then over thirty years. And that’s the amount of time you are wasting, or extending your career….

Enhanced Customer Service Following Treatment

Following treatment, there can be nothing worse, as a patient, than the feeling of being rushed “getting out” of the treatment room.

Think about it. Your patient, your customer, has usually been lying horizontal during their appointment, and now, their treatment time is over.

Up comes the chair. They have to rinse, regain their balance and orientation, tidy their face, collect their things [bags, coats, keys, phones, etc.], and get out, so that the room can be used again quickly.

It must be very similar to the feeling you get when dining out at an early sitting….all of a sudden the relaxed nature of your dining experience is over…the next group is here, for *your* table, and they want it now! Wait staff are hovering; they want you out, and they’re ready to get you out…

It’s a rush job….it’s horrible.

A dentist working out of two treatment rooms can happily finish treatment in one room and farewell his patient, leaving them in the capable hands of his well-trained customer focused assistant.

In this way, there is no rush. The patient can take their time, because the room is not needed immediately. The patient is able, at their own pace, to reorient themselves to the vertical, freshen themselves up, and gather their things, in a systematic orderly manner, without feeling pressured in the slightest.

The benefit of this to your dental office is that a far, far more relaxed and composed client arrives at the front desk following treatment.

Patients who feel relaxed rather than rushed will be more likely to create a “bond” with your office, feeling more like a friend than a customer.

Patients feeling this “connection” with your office are on the whole, more likely to make more appointments, accept more treatment [and spend more money on that treatment], and refer more often, than those patients who are made to feel just like a number.

Enhanced Customer Service Upon Arrival

Having a room set up and ready for the next patient is paramount in providing world class customer service in your dental office.

We all know that opposite, disappointing feeling…. We arrive at our hotel check in counter, only to be told, our room is not ready. We have to sit, or stand, and wait, while they clean the room. Clean up other people’s mess from the room we’re going to stay in.

It’s the same at a restaurant. You’re tables not ready. And you’re hungry. You have to wait; your valuable time is being disregarded…

When a patient is able to be brought into their treatment room ahead of time it creates an aura of calm within the dental office. The client can be seated, bibbed and ready, waiting for the dentist. A well-trained dental auxiliary will have the patient at ease and relaxed for when the dentist arrives.

A dentist operating out of one treatment room will always feel that time is being wasted in ‘prepping” the patient. He almost always feels as though he’s standing there, tapping his toe or foot, waiting, waiting, waiting.

This has to be stressful for the dentist….

Efficiency In Tear Down

Sometimes at our dental office we have a replacement team member from an agency to fill in for staff on holidays or on leave….

And how different that can be.

One of the key differences I have noticed, and it’s not their fault, is that sometimes, towards the end of treatment, I need to ask them to slow down for a moment.

You see, sometimes the really efficient temporary staff come in a groove.

You know the ones….they’re used to working out of one room so they’re constantly putting things back in drawers and cupboards, and disconnecting suction tips and drills and handpieces and triplex tips, right there in front of the patient!!

Now I don’t know about you, but I imagine for the patient, these “background” actions, are not too relaxing.

I imagine, again, it’s like being out at a restaurant, and while you’re still eating your dessert at the end of a lovely night, the staff are putting up chairs right there beside you.

It’s almost like they want you not to exist any more. Like they want you to go home, now!

Working out of two rooms allows your dental team to clean, tidy and tear down and put away, after the patient has left the treatment room. Because the room is not needed immediately, the dental assistant can devote her immediate post treatment time towards dealing with the comfort, composure and reorientation of the patient.

After the patient has been transferred to the front office, then the dental assistant can return to the treatment room and begin the teardown.

Being Totally Prepared For The Next Patient

Having time to set up a treatment room, and knowing in advance what treatment is about to be performed allows an efficient dental assistant to have everything out and ready that needs to be ready for the next patient.

When time is precious, and we’re working out of one room, set-ups are invariably incomplete.

This creates awkward delays, or pregnant pauses, that are uncomfortable for all concerned.

As a patient, I would be upset and disappointed if things, and I mean everything necessary for my appointment, is not there, close at hand, well ahead of time.

You know how nice it is, how special you feel, when your hairdresser brings you your coffee, unasked, just the way you like it?

Or your barman, or waiter asks you if you’d like your “usual”?

You do feel special. It’s recognition.

Conversely, as a patient, imagine their thoughts, as your assistant has to fetch something from another room, or get something out of a drawer or cupboard.

The patient must be thinking, “I’ve had this appointment booked for two weeks. Surely they would have everything ready for me?”

Not being one hundred percent ready and set up for your patient shows disrespect for their time, and also, for the doctor’s time, by inference.

This inference, with a little thought, is easily avoided.

So there you have it. Five reasons why two rooms are better than one.

When you multiply out the time wasted and lost, you really are adding unnecessary years to your dental career. And that has to be detrimental…


The correct use of your time is just one of the  many straight forward and easy to implement  protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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