Three Mistakes You Should Never Make in Your Dental Office That Are Costing You Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars – #1. Big Shiny Objects

In a previous blog I mentioned a list of some of the things they don’t teach you in Dental School that they should.

Today I’d like to discuss one of the major pitfalls of dentistry that some dentists fall into…and that is the chasing of big shiny objects.

Top of the list for Big Shiny Objects is a swish new or new looking Dental Office Facility filled with fancy new Equipment. As I travel around Australia and North America I see a lot of dentists, new and old, spending truckloads of cash building Taj Mahals and mausoleums and shrines to themselves, full of lavish fittings and fixtures, then chasing after the latest in gadgetry and toys to fill their dental shrines with.

This can be very expensive and very costly as well.

Expensive in set up costs alone. Costly in chewing up big dollars over and over and over through expensive long term financing.

Now don’t get me wrong. If you’re dental office is growing, then it’s a fact of life that you as a dentist will need to go through a fit out or refit at some point in your ownership of your dental practice.

If you’re setting up a new office or you’re upgrading an old facility or relocating, then a fit out, or new fit out can seem very attractive.

But the world of dental fit out is a very lucrative business for the fitter outerer.

Frankly, I’m surprised at the going rate for fit outs.

Having built a whole brand new house years ago, with stairs and carpets and kitchens and bathrooms, I have an idea of what you can get for your fit out buck.

Yet time and time again I’ve seen dentists and dental offices being coerced into fit outs that are simply outrageous when you look at the costings and compare them to the cost of a house on a dollar per square foot basis.

I know who is laughing all the way to the bank, and it’s not the dentist.

So let’s look at some simple principles in dental office design.

And we’ll start where it all really matters, where the wheels are turning, in the treatment rooms.

Now down here it should be simple. All you need should be:

  • Dental chair and light and x-ray
  • Sink
  • Storage for materials and instruments
  • Computer
  • Ceiling TV
  • Wall TV

Now in some offices I’ve visited I’ve seen wall to wall cupboards and drawers and shelves and fixtures and goodness knows what!!

Looking way too busy, busy, busy!

Sometimes it looks good, but frankly, cupboards and draws just fill up with junk.

They become magnets for hidden clutter.

Hidey holes for unused junk that should be gone.

What we did at Active Dental, and what we teach at The Ultimate Patient Experience is this:

You need a mobile cart, for the dental assistants to wheel close, to save stretching. Everything they need should be in those carts. But nothing they don’t need.

Doc has a PC on a mobile trolley [from Officeworks] on his side.

TV/monitor on the wall in front of the patient.

TV/monitor on the ceiling above patient. This one acts as a visual distraction during treatment, and can also can be switched from TV to duplicate monitor screen so the doc can explain x-rays etc. to the patient without them having to crane their neck.

Treatment room has plenty of available floor room for doc to move and sit beside and in front of patient to make level eye-to-eye contact in a relaxed manner.

Treatment room has floor space for mobile centres, if need be…

You see, I believe that small treatment rooms look mean. They look cheap and nasty.

With space comes the feeling of freedom, not of claustrophobia. And claustrophobia may actually inhibit the patient’s desire to purchase.

Cutting down and reducing the costs of cabinetry and clutter holes in your dental office can remove inhibitive overhead from your fit out and ongoing costs. Freeing up space and the feeling of space, and freeing up cash and income and profit moving forward.

So when designing your treatment rooms, keep it simple. Sleek.

Remember, less can be more….


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me:

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!