Tales of Renovation

Renovating a dental practice is no small feat; it is a significant commitment in time and cost to help improve the workspace for both patients and practitioners. We spoke to two practice owners who recently renovated about their experiences.

Our Dentists

Dentista Dental Care Noranda

Renovated by Henry Schein
Outcome Addition of surgery room

What they did

When Dr Carla Graneri purchased Dentista Dental Care in Noranda from Dr Brian Hurwitz she quickly started making plans to add another surgery room to the practice. “We just had one surgery room,” Carla says. “The other room was used by Brian's wife as a speech therapy room, so Brian kicked her out and we converted her office to another surgery,” she laughs.

Carla says she was lucky to be working with great tradespeople who knew what they were doing, adding she had the benefit of working with different chairs so knew exactly what she wanted when it came to choosing the chair. She also had a good idea of what she wanted when it came to the flow of the room.

“I knew that I wanted the patient to be able to easily see their radiographs,” she says.

“We make videos for the practice, and we have heaps of patient information on our website, so I wanted our patients to be able to look at those things sitting up and with me holding the mouse as well. Otherwise, when you have things put on the ceiling on the TV, you are behind the patient controlling the mouse, which means you are behind them when talking. There can also be quite a delay with the TV to connect to the computer.”

Inspiration also came from other practices.

“I noticed at a friend’s practice that he had a computer monitor to the right of the patient. I thought that was such a nice design feature because that is where you can communicate with the patient while they are sitting up. It is a much nicer interaction than if you are standing behind them on your computer.”

Although the turnaround of the room renovation was quick, it was many months in planning, with the main hold up being the arrival of the chair, due to shipping from Sydney being delayed a few times.

Advice to others

Carla recommends measuring out the flow of the room. “Spacing things out, marking them out on the floor and using props to see where you like to reach for things to work out is really helpful when working out where you want things to be placed,” she says. 

“Sometimes too much space is a burden,” she adds. “Our existing surgery room has two sinks and two basins, but it was wasteful because everyone still uses the one sink, so that additional sink is unnecessary. Although our new room is smaller, it is very efficient.

"The biggest thing I would say to others planning these renovations is to keep notes in the planning meetings," she says. “For example, when Tom from Henry Schein was here and we were discussing the dimensions of the room, we thought everything would be perfect if the bench was 500mm deep. Unfortunately, I didn’t communicate that to the cabinet maker. Luckily it was still fine and worked out well, but I had completely forgotten about it until the preinstall for the chair and we realised it was going to be a very tight fit.”

The Endodontic Practice (Applecross)

Renovated by Medifit Design & Construct
Outcome Fit-out of existing premises

What they did

When Dr Gaurav Vasudeva decided to open his practice, he chose to renovate a 1940s house in Applecross. “This particular building was run by a chiropractor before I took it over, so from a council point of view it was approved as a medical premises but was not right for a dental practice,”
he says. “There was a considerable amount of work we undertook.”

Gaurav wanted to retain the building’s old charm and features, so not much changed externally. His focus was on creating an ergonomic space for both patients and staff, so he was very involved in the design process.

“Conventional designs are not always very ergonomic, so I think a dentist must give input, because good ergonomics starts from design.

“There can be a lot of traffic created in one small space with patients and staff moving from space to space, so I wanted to have two exits or entries in both surgeries,” he explains. “I wanted to ensure I could enter the surgery from the front side where the patient can see me and not sneak up from behind, because most patients are nervous, and
we want to make them feel really comfortable.”

The flow of the practice was also very important
to allow for efficient movement between
treatment spaces. 

“For example, when we take a radiograph, the dentist and the assistant move out of the surgery,” Gaurav explains. “This is something in a general practice that happens at least 20 times a day, and every time someone gets up from the chair and moves out there is conflict, and it impacts the ergonomics. So, the moment I set up a patient to take a radiograph, my assistant has her own path to walk out, and I have my own path, so we don’t conflict and there is no interference.”

This “no-interference” flow of the practice continued with the creation of a separate consultation room, which has a CBCT unit in the same space. “The workflow goes: I have seen your teeth now, so
now I need to take a CBCT. 

"The moment the CBCT is done, the patient sits down in the same room because that is also my consultation room, and it is a private area where I can discuss everything and show my patient my findings. We don’t go back and forth between areas; we just go forward in the one direction.”

A good dental stool and live-stream monitors were also important additions for ergonomics during treatment. “I use a dental stool that has hand rests – the reason why you need hand rests is to give you stability,” Gaurav says. “We see patients for six to seven hours in an eight- or nine-hour day and if you are sitting on a stool with no support to your shoulders, neck or arm they are bound to fatigue. 

“My assistant has the same dental stool, and access to a live stream on the side of her wall. I have access to another monitor live stream on my side of the wall, so we don’t have to twist and turn our necks here and there to see what is going on.”

Advice to others

The renovation went very smoothly and only took seven weeks. “There is an advantage of having people who know what they are doing – you need to leave certain things in the hands of the experts,” he says. “Have the right team around you, get commitment on paper and be really hands on, as it is your working space. I was lucky but I did do my homework and settled with a company I felt comfortable working with.”

Gaurav also recommends if someone is looking at a premises to contact the council first. “It is surprising that a Perth city council would be absolutely different from say Melville or Stirling but they all have different rules and regulations, which can be a hurdle,” he says. “Council approvals and parking issues are set out separately for different councils so look out for that if you are looking to lease or buy.”

Other ways to improve your practice


Carla signed up to digital stock management and ordering system, Invedent (an ADAWA partner), to do a stocktake – but it quickly became a handy way to keep the practice organised year-round.

“Invedent was a great help for us because there was no stock control; it was just one team member having the whole responsibility. As the practice grows, everyone needs to know at a glance what the stock situation is. 

“Invedent really allows that to happen,” she adds. “You just click, and you can see exactly what you have, and what you need to order. It is so helpful to us.” 

Go to invedent.com/adawa-partnership

WA Energy

If you are undergoing a renovation, why not add solar at the same time and save money on your bills? WA Energy is also an ADAWA partner who can help with your solar needs (even if your premises is leased). 

Go to adawa.com.au/waenergy/

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