Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 04 Temporary Dental Office 1

From disasters to remodels: How a temporary office can be your dental practice’s best ‘Plan B’

April 1, 2015
If disaster does strike, there is a Plan B that can help your dental practice stay afloat. A temporary building can be the answer to generating income and helping with a sense of normalcy. Temporary buildings are also an excellent solution during remodeling and other construction projects.

You see it on the news almost daily, it seems. Natural disasters have struck again—earthquakes, floods, tornados, hurricanes, wildfires . . . Even though we may have warning of their arrival and can save our own lives, we are powerless to stop their paths of destruction. We have seen devastation of epic proportions in the U.S. during the past years, especially from tornadoes in Missouri and Alabama, which have not only claimed hundreds of lives, but also caused billions of dollars in damage to property. While some things can be rebuilt and replaced, some people have had their lives irreparably altered.

Many of our colleagues have experienced these disasters firsthand. Ask yourself what you would do if your dental office—the place where you have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with your “blood, sweat, and tears” so you could earn your livelihood—was suddenly demolished? Or more commonly, what if there was a fire or a waterline break that rendered your office unusable?

As I know from my own experience, even a small disaster such as a fire caused by a paper shredder malfunction can prevent patient care for weeks. Hopefully your insurance will cover the cost of repairing your damage and replace some of your lost income, but where will your patients go? It is a commonly known fact that the value of a dental practice begins to decay very rapidly when the doctor is unavailable, and every day your office is non-functional costs you in more ways than one.

So, what is your “Plan B?” How will you continue to serve the needs of your patients, and pay your staff, your overhead, and yourself if you have no place to provide the service and earn the income necessary to do so?

RELATED READING:One year after Hurricane Sandy: How one dental office survived

The faster you can resume operations, the better it is for everyone, and so the answer may be a temporary dental office. With a temporary dental office, the doctor can continue practicing with little interruption while the office is being repaired. This not only allows you to continue to fulfill your obligations, but it also speeds the process of repair and recovery, which helps the insurance company mitigate its losses, making it a win for everyone.

Temporary dental offices come in a variety of configurations and can be rented on a weekly basis. The ideal arrangement would be for the temporary office to be delivered and set up at your original location so that patients can come to a familiar location. In all cases of disaster, the goal is to return to normal as soon as possible so everyone can get on with their lives, but this is especially valuable in a major disaster because it helps speed the sense of recovery for victims.

Disasters are not the only use for a temporary dental office. They are also valuable in the case of new construction or office remodeling. Many doctors avoid remodeling their offices, even though some are in desperate need, because they can’t afford to close the office during construction or they don’t want to go through the trauma of trying to work while construction is being done.

In the case of new construction, the doctor can begin seeing patients in the new location before construction is complete. This option is especially valuable in the case of a new practice because the doctor can begin earning income sooner and begin establishing a patient base before the “doors are open.” The income generated in the temporary dental office can help alleviate the stress caused by delays in construction completion, which are all too typical. The doctor can already be working and is not held hostage awaiting the certificate of occupancy before opening the practice. In these times of increasing difficulty in obtaining financing, this ability to begin earning income sooner can be a huge benefit in one’s ability to get loan approval, especially in the case of a new practice.

The national average income produced per operatory is $170,000 per year. The standard temporary office has two treatment rooms, sterilization, and business office space, but these can be expanded depending on the space available for the units to be placed. While a temporary dental office is not as large as most brick and mortar facilities, the productive space is comparable, making it easy to generate the income one needs to make it through the transition, especially when one considers the cost savings and increased efficiency that can be achieved on the part of the building contractors.

In a typical remodel the doctor hires a contractor who will do the majority of the work at nights and on weekends. This not only increases the time it takes to complete the project, it also significantly increases the cost. Even with attempts to do most of the work while the office is not operating, some things must be done during normal business hours and may necessitate closing the office completely. The advantages to operating in a temporary office during construction are enormous because everyone can carry on without interrupting the others so that all can achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness, thereby reducing the cost and time to complete the project. When one adds the income generated in the temporary office to the equation, it makes renting one to use during construction a home run!

My prayer is that no one ever experiences a disaster of any type again, but if it happens, a temporary dental office can be the answer to your “Plan B” question. If you have been delaying a much needed office remodel or new construction, a temporary dental office can be the missing link to get the project started.

For more information on temporary dental offices and mobile dental clinics, please visit to learn how Dental Access Mobile Clinics, LLC can help you in your time of need, or in achieving your goal of improving your facilities to have the office of your dreams.