The Daily Grind offers readers a glimpse into the life of general dentists practicing today. Each post offers a perspective on managing a dental practice or balancing a life outside of the practice. The Daily Grind is written by several general dentist and student members of AGD. All content published on The Daily Grind is property of the Academy of General Dentistry and cannot be reposted or reprinted without permission.

What Does the Appearance of Your Office Convey About the Cleanliness and Organization of Your Business?

  • by Duke Aldridge, DDS, MBA, MAGD, DICOI, MICOI, FMISCH
  • Jan 12, 2018, 09:00 AM

We should always strive to create a positive first impression so every patient is comfortable and believes that they are in a state-of-the-art dental office. Dental office design and décor have evolved dramatically over the past two decades, so patients have come to expect conveniences like a spa-like atmosphere, beverage counters, Wi-Fi service and current and comfortable surroundings. They also expect the use of modern dental imagery technologies such as intraoral video cameras, digital still cameras, digital radiography, CAD-CAM, caries-detecting units and cone beam machines. However, other high-tech equipment, such as patient education/entertainment systems, electronic dental records and web-friendly portals, help differentiate you from your competition. 

When patients first arrive, they begin to evaluate your office — from parking convenience, landscape, entryway, interior furnishings, carpet, colors, lighting, artwork and magazines. They are doing what we all do — judging the quality of your office and staff based upon the physical appearance of your business.    

Update your office with a fresh coat of paint and new carpet every three to four years. Implement a daily checklist of items to be maintained, and have your staff tour your office every six months to make recommendations. This can be fun, and it builds camaraderie. Some of the items in the reception area to be checked on a daily basis include:

  1. Is the carpet clean?
  2. Are the windows clean?
  3. Are there any burned out lightbulbs?
  4. Are the ceiling tiles stained from water, sewer or a leaking roof?
  5. Are your counters clear of debris and clutter?
  6. Are your magazines outdated?
  7. Are your consent forms printed individually, or are they poor and faded copies?
  8. Are the air conditioning and heating vents clean?
  9. Are your restrooms clean and stocked with extra toilet paper, paper towels, disposable toothbrushes, mouthwash and floss?
  10. Is your artwork straight?
  11. Is your signage updated?
  12. Are the office hours posted on your door accurate? 
  13. Are there spider webs in corners?
  14. Do you have a beverage station?
  15. Are there flowers or plants that look fresh?
  16. Is there relaxing and soothing background music?

Some doctors believe if they upgrade their office, their patients will think their services are expensive. There is a happy medium to implementing these upgrades, though. Remember, a great smile, coordinated uniforms, excellent hygiene and a spirited team are also required to complement a comfortable work environment. 

Start today, and implement a system that incorporates the appearance, cleanliness and organization of all areas of your business. This can go a long way in showing your patients how much you care about not only their oral cavity, but their comfort. A dirty office with outdated magazines, filthy carpets, dirty windows and cluttered treatment areas speaks for itself. 

When was the last time you took the time to evaluate your office from top to bottom? Don’t delegate this task. Rather, take the time to involve your entire team and develop a checklist that can be monitored and maintained to ensure your office maintains a professional appearance. 

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