The big picture

ice ice baby smallStuart Clark explains how to design a dental practice avoiding hidden obstacles


Redesigning or relocating your dental practice is a project that can make a radical difference to your business. But the prospect of intricate planning and the stresses of budgeting, design and compliance can prove a daunting task for any dental professional – not least if you plan to run a working practice while the project is underway.
But there is a solution. Enlisting the services of a company with a proven track record of success in surgery designs and equipment solutions will ensure that you will find the right solution for your brief.
It is extremely likely that by employing the services of an experienced company you will find your project runs more smoothly, and is completed in a time frame that will cause minimum disruption to your business.
As you can imagine, surgery design is a complex and highly involved task, so employing a specialist company to work in your best interests means that you will leave nothing to chance.
This is especially important for professions such as dentistry since it is subject to both national regulators – such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – and local planning regulations, which may include the need to secure change of use permission for your premises.
General design compliance and building regulations will also apply to the new or altered building to ensure it is safe and accessible for public use.

Devil’s in the detail

As the famous American designer Billy Baldwin once said: ‘Suitability is the quality that makes things durable’. This is clear in the dental practice where equipment and space must interact fluidly for the best patient experience and clinical results.
The practice is a working space, but it should also be a meaningful space that brands your business, and this will require careful planning and equipment that speaks of the quality of treatments that you are able to provide.
To make the most of your project, the best companies will use advanced computer-aided design (CAD) software in order to create accurate plans of your surgery in both two- and three-dimensions.
Not only will this help you to visualise your design before work commences but it will also mean you can maximise the space available to you. At this stage, changes are easily made at the click of a button and you can make as many alterations to the design as you like until you are completely happy and satisfied with the result.

Choosing the right equipment

As well as using the latest CAD tools, the best companies will be able to guide and support you in a wide range of areas pertaining to your project. This doesn’t just include elements of design, but also includes the supply and installation of dental equipment – anything from dental units to digital imaging and beyond.
As a practice owner, you will understand that your dental equipment is a key part of your practice, and you need to be confident that you are investing in products that suit your requirements and future needs.
Therefore, it can be of great benefit to work with an experienced surgery design company that can offer a wide selection of equipment from trusted brands that are known for quality and reliability.
Beyond the supply of dental equipment, you should also consider installation and ongoing support. The best companies will only employ qualified installation engineers, who are experienced in fitting key equipment, so that it is installed according to manufacturer guidelines. Often, these same companies will also then be able to provide ongoing servicing and support for your equipment to give you invaluable peace of mind.

Future proofing

Good surgery design is a difficult task – there’s far more involved than simply setting a budget and picking cabinetry to suit.
As well as the more obvious CQC, HSE and HTM 01-05 regulations, you should also consider how everything fits together. This is because a dental surgery is so much more than just a ‘room with equipment in it’ – indeed, it is a place of work,3 where patients receive high quality dental treatments. As such, good surgery design should reflect this, and a good design should take into account considerations such as ergonomics, workflow and, of course, practice branding.
What is more, the design should consider all aspects of ‘future proofing’ to ensure that many years down the line it is still suitable for welcoming and treating your patients.
Careful, selection of the equipment, fittings and fixtures will guarantee your practice stands the test of time, ensuring you are looking at the bigger picture and are prepared for the future.
By choosing to work with an experienced company such as Clark Dental you can be sure your project will be in the best hands possible. What’s more, by working with a company with dental experience, you will be able to draw on the team’s knowledge and expertise to make your vision a reality. A reputable company can supply high quality, long lasting dental equipment to meet every need and budget.
Surgery design is no simple task, but with the services of a company with a proven track record of success in surgery design and equipment solutions, it can be.


Stuart Clark is director of Clark Dental. He is also an experienced equipment engineer and expert auto-CAD surgery designer. For more details, visit

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