Küster Dental Blog

Posts Tagged ‘interior dental office design’

Sanitary Flooring Options for the Dental Office

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by James Kuester No Comments
terrazzo floor w cove (2)

Terrazzo floor with seamless cove base

Do you need a floor that is easy to clean and easy to keep microbial free?  One of the best ways to insure both features is to get one that is seamless.  There are a couple of ways to accomplish this.  One if through a rolled vinyl material that has welded seams where needed.  Another is through using terrazzo.

There are rolled vinyl products available now that contain recycled content and provide antimicrobial properties.  Some can be seamed to a cove base to create a smooth, corner free transition from floor to wall that is easy to clean and prevents dirt attracting crevices at the edges.

This same seamless cove transition is possible using terrazzo where the base and flooring can be poured together to provide a great microbe free surface.  Terrazzo is another green option as it can readily contain recycled materials as part of the aggregate and is produced locally to the project.

Especially in surgery suites where sanitation is of added importance we recommend either of these approaches to achieving a great looking, low maintenance, sanitary floor.

Good Communication Makes for Good Design

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by James Kuester No Comments
Talk often

Talk often

Whenever we start a new design project we sit down with our client and spend time getting to know them.  We want to learn what their likes and dislikes are.  We are especially interested in learning what they feel works in their current environment and what doesn’t.  We also spend time discussing what their dream dental office would look like if time, money, and space were no objects.  We blue sky a little.

Throughout the design phase we regularly check back in with our clients to ask for feedback on concepts and designs we are considering.  By gaining this interim feedback the design becomes a very collaborative process and the dental team becomes more intimately involved in shaping their future home.

When the project moves to the bid stage we sit with our clients during the contractor interview process.  This is key to bringing our experience to the client and helping them in choosing a contractor that provides a best fit for their culture and the new office design.  After all, we design and build dental offices every day.  Most dentists and their teams will only do this once or twice during their entire career.

The construction phase is where good communication really shines and can mean the difference in a successful realization of the vision and an on-time and on-budget project and one that isn’t.  A general contractor that communicates jobsite conditions daily and asks lots of clarifying questions saves everyone time and money.  Regular communication between the design team and the general contractor can prevent unforeseen jobsite conditions from turning into problems and prevent unnecessary trips by the design team to the jobsite.

The only kind of communication we don’t like is too much communication between the laborers and the dental team.  When the crew actually executing the design start interrupting the dental team with questions about why something is being done one way or another, this only serves to disrupt the dental team’s productivity, cause doubt about prior decisions they made, and result in confusion and frustration for all parties involved.

Modern technology makes frequent communication efficient and affordable.  When contemplating a new dental office design project seek out a team that likes to talk.  You’ll get a better design.

Giving Thanks

Posted on: November 27th, 2013 by James Kuester No Comments
Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

All of us here at Küster Dental Office Design would like to pause and offer our thanks for another wonderful year.  We so very much appreciate our clients, friends, and colleagues that provide us the freedom to do what we enjoy doing each and every day of the year.  We are truly blessed.  Designing creative and inventive spaces that reward our clients’ investment in an improved bottom-line through reduced cancellations, increased referrals, and improved productivity is richly rewarding.  Being able to design spaces that improve the health of our environment through reduced carbon usage and carbon impact is immensely satisfying, and we owe it to all of you.

This year, as we bend our heads in thanksgiving over a bountiful meal, we’d like to give special thanks to Ina, Fred, Marcella, and Olga – the amazing staff at the Eco Dentistry Association – for allowing me the privilege to work with them this past year on the first ever Green Dentistry Conference.  It was an amazing experience and we’re looking forward to an even greater conference in 2014.

Let us pause tomorrow from the hustle and bustle and frenzy of this amazing, crazy, mixed-up world and spend it with family and friends and remember and give thanks for all of the blessings each of us experience every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Make Your Dental Office A Wealth of Textures

Posted on: November 8th, 2013 by James Kuester No Comments
Amazing Stone Stairs inviting hikers to explore the forest.

Amazing Stone Stairs inviting hikers to explore the forest.

I love autumn.  It really has to be my favorite season.  With cooler temperatures, drier days, and vibrant color, it is a joy to get out into the countryside and go for a hike.  While walking along the trails there is such an abundance of things to see and textures to soak in.  For example, this stone retaining wall and stairs roughly carved from stone provide a richness and depth of color that is difficult to duplicate in manufactured products.  Plus, there is something about them being a natural material that draws us to them.  We want to run our fingers across them to not only experience them visually but tactilely as well.

The use of such material in a dental office has the same effect.  It draws patients in, making them feel welcome and relaxed.  The more relaxed they are, the more they are going to view their dental experience in a positive light.  The more they view their dental experience in a positive light the more likely they are to refer their family and friends to their dentist and the less likely they are to cancel or reschedule their next appointment.  Thus the ROI of investing in a good dental office design.

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum is the coolness of glass and steel.  Some people are really drawn to clean, crisp lines these materials provide.  They invoke precision and modernity. They also conjure up a feeling of sterility and cleanness.  Once a patient has been welcomed into the dental office keeping the operatory clean and crisp instills confidence that the dentist and staff are running a tight ship and are going to provide great oral healthcare. Effectively combining the use of the rough and the smooth – the natural and the manufactured, creates a tension and energy that is exciting and a joy to work in and experience.

Are the Grout Lines Straight?

Posted on: October 18th, 2013 by James Kuester No Comments


Straight Grout Lines

Straight Grout Lines

Maybe one of the reasons I like working in the dental industry so much even though I’m not a dentist is on some level my personality must be similar to a lot of dentists.  In order to get patients’ teeth to look just right and for a smile to really look great requires a real attention to detail and a commitment to great looking aesthetics.  I dentist, I am certain, sees things in people’s smiles that others never notice – subtle little nuances that make or break a fantastic aesthetic.

For me, it is grout lines.  When I walk into a room that has been tiled, my eyes unconsciously are drawn to the lines and start running along them to see if they are straight and if they all align.  Grout lines that don’t line up drive me nuts.  When tile sizes haven’t been chosen to allow for symmetry and a consistent pattern between different surfaces it just makes me feel like the designer or contractor was being lazy.  Yes, making sure everything is selected and laid out so there are no mismatches takes a little bit of thought and time, the end result is much more pleasing.  Just like in a smile, it is the little touches that make people go Wow when they see it.  The same goes for a tiled room.

Sound Design in Dental Office Operatories

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by James Kuester No Comments
As quiet as a forest

As quiet as a forest

One of the areas that is a constant struggle in dental office design is to create enough sound masking between operatories so that the office is in compliance with HIPAA without breaking the office into a series of individual, tiny rooms.  Traditionally, dental offices are comprised primarily of drywall walls and ceilings.  Drywall is one of the most reflective surfaces making sound transfer between operatories an issue when one is trying to prevent it.  Drop panel ceilings can help with this by offering more sound absorption, but they do not offer the same level of sanitation and cleanability that drywall offers.  We have utilized acoustical panels mounted on walls and in cabinets in many of our designs to assist with sound absorption with fairly good results.  But, we’ve always felt that there has to be a better way.

I’m at the Greening the Heartland Conference in Chicago this week and one of the sessions dealt with sound design.  One of the key takeaways from the session was that the more varied the surfaces of a room are, the more the sound is muffled and the less transfer between spaces one will get.  Think forest as compared with a drywall room.  As a result of this session I am excited to explore new operatory designs that make use of higher ceilings with multiple surfaces to help the sound go up and away rather than reflecting back to be heard by others. I think these concepts can afford some very exciting dental office designs that will help our clients get even better HIPAA compliance without resorting to individual rooms or bothersome noise masking technologies.  Stay tuned for more as we explore the possibilities.


Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by James Kuester No Comments

A few weeks back I was asked to write a guest blog post for Tish Flooring.  I thought I’d share it here with my regular readers.  Enjoy!


The alarm goes off and you hop out of bed.  As you walk through across the bedroom, how often do you pay attention to what’s underfoot?  Your morning trek to the bathroom can feel cushy and luxurious with the right pad. 

A good pad is everything.  While many might be tempted to skimp on the cost of the carpet pad, if given a choice between spending 50¢ more on your pad or the same on your carpet, spend it on the pad.  A good pad can make even a cheap carpet feel amazing when you walk on it.  Pair a good pad with a really good carpet and you’ll think you died and went to heaven.  A client of mine recently held an open house to show off their new Master Suite remodel and every guest that came through could not stop talking about how amazing the carpet felt underfoot.

Having invested in new carpet and padding, you’ll want to keep it clean and looking good for years to come.  The first thing is to avoid walking on it in your bare feet as much as possible.  The oils from your skin will cause your carpet to look dirty faster than anything else, even your shoes.  Keep a pair of slippers handy in the bedroom or wear your socks as much as possible when wandering about and your carpet will stay cleaner longer. 

When it does come time to clean your carpet, use only a dry chemical cleaner.  Other types of cleaning agents leave a film residue that attracts dirt and will cause your carpet to get dirty faster. 

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure your carpet does not contribute to an unhealthy environment in your house.  Look for the Greenguard® label when shopping for carpet. This label indicates that your carpet choice will not contribute to poor indoor air quality by off-gassing harmful fumes from the dyes and adhesives used in its manufacturing.

Armed with these tips you should be able to pick a carpet that will feel wonderful when you walk on it and remain looking good, too, for years to come.

The Winter Doldrums

Posted on: January 25th, 2013 by James Kuester No Comments

The Winter doldrums.  How do you shake them?  Normally, I don’t get them until later into February, but for some reason the bitter cold and snow we’ve been having lately has brought them on early.  Ugh.  It just doesn’t seem like I’ll ever see the sun or be warm again- ever!  I am comforted (a little) in the thought that I am not alone in feeling this way.  The fact that so many people suffer from the winter blues, light deprivation, whatever you want to call it, makes it something that dental offices really need to pay attention to how patients and staff are feeling.  We all know that many patients fear going to see their dentist. They make up excuses in order to cancel or postpone their appointments.  If they are feeling down because of the Winter Doldrums, this is just one more reason for them to cancel.

So, what can a dental office do to help counter act this tug to cancel?  How about making sure your coffee bar is well stocked with good coffee, large ceramic mugs, and some biscotti alongside?  For the kids a hot chocolate bar with some whipped cream and sprinkles can be fun.  Make sure your patients are aware that your office isn’t just “a regular dental office” by telling them about your amazingly, warm and comfortable coffee bar when you call to remind them about their appointment.  Coaching your staff to spend a few more minutes on the phone with each patient to commiserate on the weather and mentioning how much easier it is to face with a great cup of coffee and that your office just happens to have a great selection.

Incorporating a coffee bar into an existing dental office design can be such a simple thing.  All you need is a stylish serving car, Keurig-style machine, some snappy looking mugs, and some creamer and sugar.  Easy!  Since most machines will also do hot chocolate you’ve got your younger patients covered, too.  There really is no excuse not to bring a bit more comfort and coziness into your dental office design experience.

Reflect on 2011 to Have A Better 2012

Posted on: December 19th, 2011 by James Kuester No Comments

As a small business owner it is important for dentists to look back at this year that is coming to a close and see where improvements can be made in order to grow the business in 2012. While Practice Management means different things to different people, at the end of the day how we run our businesses ultimately dictates what kind of success we’re going to have. Will we be able to reduce cancellation rates in 2012? How about improving on the patient experience – and just how are we going to design the office to achieve this?

My friend Kevin Eikenberry recounts the reasons why quite well, in his blog, “How Reviewing This Year Will Improve Your Results Next Year.” I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!


Celebrate Success!

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by James Kuester No Comments

This week has been one of celebrations.  I have attended several open houses for businesses that have opened new offices and are sharing their growth and success with clients, vendors, and friends by breaking bread and drinking wine together.  In this time of uncertainty and ever rising competition, sometimes it is difficult to step back and count one’s blessings.  As business owners we often get bogged down in the day-to-day challenges and do not take time out to celebrate the successes in our lives.

Every time I complete a dental office project I encourage my client to hold an open house to show off their new office or newly remodeled one.  I believe that these events are so important that I typically even share the expense of this party with them. This

is a great way to connect with clients in a more social gathering, plus it helps them to see that the practice is doing well.  As one of the important health care providers in clients’ lives, it is important to them that their dentist do well.  They like to know that their dentist is keeping abreast of all of the latest in technology and practice trends. This spills over in how the dental office itself is designed, organized, and operated.

Beyond just having a party when one opens a new office, there are many other times when one can throw a celebration.  Perhaps a member of your staff reaching a milestone in employment like 10 years with the practice or passing a certification exam for new industry knowledge or adding the 1500th patient.  These opportunities may just be mini celebrations held in the staff lounge, but they build teamwork, reduce stress, and keep the practice focused on the positive rather than the daily grind.

I’m off to another celebration this evening of a new office opening.  In spite of an already full schedule I’m looking forward to another chance to share in the success of my friends, colleagues, and peers.