By Danny Chan
Dentists@Capri is a new tenant at Capri On Via Roma, a shopping complex in Isle of Capri, located a stone’s throw from Surfers Paradise at Gold Coast. Having lived in the coastal suburb for 10 years, dental partner Dr John Utama saw excellent business opportunities there and did not waste time taking on the recently vacated premise. It probably helped that the waterfront complex possesses all the trademarks of a dream location. That said, envisioning a 3-chair dental practice within the premium 99m2 unit took a little more imagination.
Beginning with four walls and a concrete floor, the realization of John’s vision – that of a minimalist dental clinic that houses three treatment surgeries, a sterilization lab, OPG, staff and reception areas – required careful research, proper planning and astuteness in space utilization. Cutting edge equipment and advanced dental technology – such as low dosage X-rays, soft tissue X-rays and an intra oral camera – also featured prominently on John’s must-have list.
The chair that caught my eye
Central to the array of modern equipment were the dental chairs. Not willing to compromise on features and functions available on top-end models, John also wanted chairs that integrate well with his current system while promoting space efficiency. And then there was the aspect of aesthetics:
“Of course, the chairs had to be simple yet tastefully designed, to blend in with its surroundings,” John enthuses.
The highly qualified orthodontist and general dentist – who completed his dental studies in New Zealand followed by an MBA at Bond University, Gold Coast – owns a second practice at shopping precinct Robina Town Centre. Opening its doors beginning 2012, Dentists@Capri was set up as a partnership between John and Dental Corporation – a dental service operator with an established network of practices across Australia and New Zealand.
Combing through the different dental chair designs and makes on the Internet – in between catalogue browsing and speaking to sales reps – John finally narrowed his search down to one particular model.
“I looked at many chairs but only the Planmeca chair caught my eye. I immediately liked what I saw. I like that it has a simple design yet is packed with features.”
The chair John is referring to, Planmeca Compact S is the side-delivery model from Planmeca’s premium range of dental chairs. Finnish company Planmeca Oy is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech dental units and cutting edge 3D digital imaging devices and software.
To comply with the individual needs of diverse dental unit users, Planmeca Compact units offer a variety of delivery and suction arms – not to mention a wide range of instruments – to choose from. For Dentists@Capri, the delivery unit is cleverly stored, away from patient view, in the alcove under the bench. With the “scary things” hidden from sight, the patient walks into the surgery room only to find a leg-break enabled dental chair and a monitor screen. Particularly suited to tight spaces, the leg-break design allows the chair to move into the seated position for ease of access.
“With the dental chair in an upright seating position, the room looks like any other non-dental office. Each room can double as a consulting room, hence maximizing space and optimizing production.”
The surgery also utilizes a trolley system, whereby each procedure – i.e. restorative, perio/endo/ortho and implants – is assigned a specialized trolley.
“Only when treatment is about to begin do we wheel in the trolley – that is specific to the treatment procedure. Once again, this arrangement minimizes clutter in the rooms.”
In line with improving treatment workflows, Planmeca chairs are tested for their rigorous and routine use within a dental clinic environment. Practical ergonomic solutions abound, in particular those that enhance patient comfort and ease of doctor-patient consultation.
As its name suggests, one of Planmeca Compact’s main benefit lies in its small and space-efficient size. Dovetailed with a compact instrument console, the unit can be placed near the patient for easy instrument reach. Perfectly balanced instrument arms – requiring only a tiny movement to activate each instrument – enhance the operator experience. Depending on instrument weight, the arms may be further adjusted.
Meeting yet another requisite of John’s master plan, the Planmeca Compact boasts next generation connectivity between the digital dental units and software.
“The Compact units enabled the seamless integration of many different units into one. Above the usual features, the ability to do rotary endodontics and use the intraoral camera without separate units allows for a much easier and less cluttered working area.
“They also integrate well with the Exact practice management program that we’re on.”
The practice further purchased two units of the Planmeca Intra X-ray. The digital radiography unit offers users a wide range of kV settings, enabling the user to acquire that image that best suits their requirements.
“The Planmeca Intra has a very steady arm that allows for precise and accurate positioning. It produces very sharp images with outstanding detail and clarity.”
As with the dental units, another reason that John chose the Planmeca Intra X-ray was due to the device’s seamless integration with the Exact dental program.
Along with the dental chairs and radiography units, Dentists@Capri also acquired a Scan X Duo PSP Digital imaging system, Cattani Turbo Smart A suction system, Cattani K200 Compressor and Kavo Quattro Care handpiece package and Mocom Millennium B+ autoclave. All the purchases were completed one-stop at Henry Schein Halas, the leading distributor of healthcare products.
Taking a pragmatic view of the practice’s willingness to invest in high-end equipment, John says:
“We want to provide quality dental services to our patients. Top-of-range technology not only allows us to practice more efficiently but also provides better patient comfort. It also projects the right image for our practice. These benefits alone are worth every penny of our investment.”
John calls his team of dental experts “super-generalists”, underlining their collective experience and specialist training in multi-disciplinary dentistry. With 26 years of practicing general dentistry under his belt, John is still learning the ropes. His keen interest and research has led him beyond the oral cavity. After spending some 15 years practicing cosmetic dentistry, implants and orthodontics, he has devoted the last five years exploring neuromuscular dentistry, or as he puts it, “studying the relationship between the bite, muscles and the TMJ joints”. The Otago University graduate has more recently taken up courses in Orthotropics, which is the science of facial growth guidance.
Dr Utama is convinced that the holistic approach to studying dentistry in relation to other parts of the body, helps to prevent what he calls ‘red flags’ – dental/medical signs and symptoms spotted early in childhood that are inextricably linked to the patient’s health and well being as an adult.
Beyond dentistry, John’s holistic approach also extends to non-clinical innovations that add to the patient’s wellbeing throughout his or her dental visit. While fancy gadgets like Ipads are already being used for educational and entertainment purposes at the clinic, patients of Dentists@Capri can look forward to a new 3D television – soon to be installed at the waiting room.
“We want the patient experience to be relaxing. The rooms are less cluttered, which means patients are not confronted by equipment that reminds them of 'being at the dentist'.
“In fact, I think one of the most rewarding benefits of the technological acquisitions – both dental and non-dental – are that they enhance the patient’s experience. And because everything has been integrated into a single network of devices, treatment times are greatly reduced and efficiency is at an optimum.”