Building the Right Dental Operatory Layout to Entertain (and Upsell) Patients

January 26, 2023

Building the right space in your dental practice is a crucial part of patient and staff satisfaction, but designing the right dental operatory layout is about so much more than tables and chairs! 

Planning the right space should also take entertainment and efficiency into account. Here’s how you can create the perfect environment in your practice so that your patients—and staff—are happy to be there. 

What makes an effective dental operatory layout?

The right dental operatory layout is an important part of communicating the right messages to your patients and staff. 

When your patients come to see you, they expect a space that is clean, organized, comfortable and structured. Striking the right balance between a professional space that also makes patients feel comfortable is often harder than it seems! Anemic spaces that come across as harsh can amplify feelings of dental anxiety, even if they are well-mapped for your employees. 

On the other hand, sacrificing functionality for comfort is also less than ideal. It can lead to a decreased quality of patient care and slow down your staff. 

Ultimately, finding the right way to design your practice is an important part of keeping patients and staff happy. 

Improves your efficiency

A well-designed space is a critical part of a well-run dental practice. 

Spaces should be designed so that practitioners and hygienists can easily access everything they need to provide high-quality care to their patients. A large part of this boils down to storage and flow. 

Well-designed storage space is about more than just tucking away and hiding clutter. Your storage should be intuitive for your staff while they’re working. Scrambling not only slows down treatment but also communicates a lack of professionalism to your patients. 

The best way to combat this is by making full use of labels and bins. Clearly marking everything and putting it in a designated spot makes it easy to find tools in a bind. It can also help your staff create a habit of accessing—and putting away—frequently used material. 

Handling material properly is essential in dental practices for the sake of efficiency and patient health. Creating procedures that optimize workflow helps your staff succeed and keeps your practice compliant with health codes. The sterilization process, for example, should be clearly outlined with a dedicated space for staff to use. This prevents unsterilized material from being misplaced.

Create and post bulleted lists that map out organizational expectations for your staff or use a screen to help you do it instead

Utilizes technology

Operational manuals are an outdated practice in most industries, and dentistry is no exception. 

Making use of technology to optimize processes at your practice is an effortless way to elevate the layout of your practice and increase efficiency at the same time. Digital displays and smart signage are the perfect tools to help you keep your staff and patients engaged and informed at the same time

Posting screens near sterilization areas, in stock rooms or operatory rooms, make it easy for you to ensure that your employees are always aware of the best practices that ensure treatments are administered without a hitch. 

While this certainly helps with keeping your practice compliant and efficient, it helps in other ways, too! It increases employee awareness of treatment options, allowing them to upsell to patients and inform them about things like bundling whitening treatments with routine care.

It also allows you to cut costs by decreasing your employee training and onboarding time, decreasing both employee and patient turnover. 

Enhances the patient experience

Dental visits, by nature, can be anxiety-inducing for many. The loud noises of drill work, the lack of personal space and the fear of pain often put many patients in the wrong headspace. This is why putting careful thought into the layout of your dental space is so important. 

The right design strategies can help you create a more inviting space for your patients to wait and receive care in. What your patients see and hear in your practice can make a huge difference here!

Eliminating clutter throughout your practice can help you communicate a commitment to cleanliness in your practice and help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety for your patients and staff. Another way to help combat feelings of stress in your patients is to make the most of open spaces when possible; this can help ensure privacy and decrease feelings of claustrophobia.

Digital displays and music can also be extremely helpful here! 

While we may not always notice it, what we see and hear can significantly impact the way we feel. Nature sounds, for example, increase feelings of relaxation and mindfulness. Coupling digital displays that show vivid scenes in nature with lyric-free natural soundscapes can help your patients manage stress and reduce their physiological responses to anxiety. 

Designing spaces with entertainment in mind also increases patient satisfaction in young patients, too! Wriggling, worrisome kiddos receiving dental care can make visits hard for everyone involved. Luckily, research suggests that something as simple as using entertainment—for example, cartoons—can significantly reduce anxiety in children receiving treatment and can even make them more cooperative. 

How digital signage can help engage patients

While it may be ideal to skip the wait at the dentist altogether, it’s often inevitable. Your patients' wait time and waiting room experience don’t have to be for naught, though! 

Reduces the boredom of waiting for the dentist

Did you know that wait times can seriously affect your patients’ level of satisfaction?

Distracting your patients from a ticking clock may not decrease your wait times, but it can help your patients forget about them. UPshow’s extensive library of entertainment makes doing this a whole lot easier. 

With 500+ channels of entertainment, your guests can enjoy the time they spend in your waiting room rather than counting down the minutes until they get to leave. With such a wide range of entertainment options, your clinic can keep patients of all ages happy. From cartoons to sports clips, UPshow makes it easy for you to deliver the entertainment your patients want to see. 

Best of all, you can control entertainment on a location-by-location basis. That way, you can customize content for each of your clinics—all it takes is a few clicks of a button! 

Informs patients about dental hygiene and procedures

Time and time again, research demonstrates that patients who play an active role in their health care and make informed decisions ultimately have better outcomes from the care they receive. The problem, though, is that patient education and oral health literacy are often lacking in a majority of patients. The number one barrier to this is access to education. 

The result of these findings is a growing interest across healthcare industries to increase patient engagement efforts. Practitioners often cite a lack of time and financial resources as one of the reasons they can not invest in these initiatives for their patients. 

Patient education can be way simpler than it may seem, though! With the right tools, keeping your patients up to speed about what they need to do to stay healthy is easy. 

Digital displays make it easy for you to share educational materials with patients as they wait for care. The right digital display software makes this even easier with an effortless content creation platform, like Canva

UPshow’s display software has full in-app Canva integration, making it easy for you and your team to create content your patients will engage with. You can easily use premade templates that are fully customizable. Canva is so intuitive that anyone on staff can use the drag-and-drop editor to add royalty-free images, animations or text to your displays. 

Provides opportunities to suggest additional procedures

It’s likely that your practice does far more than just cleanings and fillings, but do your patients know the full range of services you provide? 

Your waiting room screens are the perfect place for you to share and highlight all of the treatment options you have at your disposal. From orthodontic consultations to teeth whitening treatments, your patients may not know their trusted dentist wears so many hats! 

Incorporate and display patient highlights and testimonials to showcase what you offer. It may be the nudge your patients need to take the next step in their oral health journey. 

Use a robust digital campaign that's equipped with QR codes to help your patients take the next step. Including direct links to scheduling portals or interest forms moves patients from awareness to action in one easy step. Best of all? These campaigns are fully trackable with a comprehensive dashboard that clues you in on which elements of your display are most engaging. 

UPshow can help you create the perfect dental operatory layout

Making the most of the space in your practice is an important part of keeping your operation efficient and comfortable for patients. After all, patient care is about more than just treatment. 

You can ensure that your space is being used to keep patients happy and healthy with digital displays. Want to see what it looks like in your office? Sign up for a risk-free demo of UPshow’s services today

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