How the Right Size Operatory Improves Patient Experience, Profitability

October 17, 2017 | Category:


The operatory is the heart of your dental practice, and optimizing that space is the key to building a dental practice that meets your goals for patient satisfaction, quality of care and profitability.

If you are moving or remodeling your office, you have an opportunity to choose a layout and design that enables your practice to work at maximum efficiency, creates a more comfortable environment for patients, eases collaboration among staff and helps you generate more income.

Experts in dental practice management say choosing the right size for your operatories is one of the most important decisions you can make. One size that comes highly recommended is 10 feet wide by 12 feet deep or 120 square feet, based on having two side cabinets and a rear cabinet.

Depending on your building and unique space, other configurations may be effective. While you can reduce the dimensions a bit if you do not need cabinets, it’s important not to sacrifice operatory space to squeeze in more treatment rooms. That’s almost always a tradeoff that backfires.

Some advantages to having ample dimensions, specifically 110 to 120 square feet, in operatories:

  • They allow patients of all ages, sizes and mobility easy access to the treatment area because there is adequate space between the entry and the chair. That puts patients at ease, avoids awkward moments at chairside and makes them feel respected.
  • You will be able to position computer screens at an optimum distance from the patient and do case presentation in a highly effective and professional manner. This builds trust and helps increase your case acceptance rate.
  • You will have room for hand-washing facilities in the operatory. This will enable you to demonstrate to patients that you practice superior hygiene and address their fears about pathogens and contamination.
  • Efficiency increases because you will be able to conduct four-handed dentistry for restorative procedures if desired, instruments will be in easy reach, supplies will be stocked conveniently and lighting will be optimal. If you are more productive, profitability rises.
  • The mood in the operatory will improve because you, your staff and patients will not feel cramped. The feeling of being confined in tight quarters is stressful and you will subconsciously elevate patients’ experience and satisfaction. Your staff will also be happier and perform better.

Getting the right layout and size of your operatories can dramatically strengthen your practice. Contact us today to see how this one step can make a huge difference.

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