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Reaching the Summit in a new practice

June 1, 2005
The following is an interview between Dental Equipment & Materials® and Dr. John Hackenberger.

Story by Ted Anibal; photos by Gene Meadows, Birmingham, Mich.

The following is an interview between Dental Equipment & Materials® and Dr. John Hackenberger. Dr. Hackenberger received his undergraduate education from the University of Michigan in 1985. He subsequently graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1989. He completed a four-year residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., in 1993. Dr. Hackenberger has had extensive training in implant dentistry and has experience in numerous implant systems. In addition, Dr. Hackenberger is well versed in TMJ dysfunction and cosmetic surgery. Dr. Hackenberger became certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 1995.

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Dr. Hackenberger is one of five highly skilled dentists who comprise the staff of Summit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. There are four Summit locations in Michigan, with the newest having been built in Grosse Point Woods. Dr. Hackenberger recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk about the new Summit location.

DE&M: How many years have you been in practice?

Dr. Hackenberger: The group has been practicing together for 17 years.

DE&M: How would you describe your practice?

Dr. Hackenberger: We enjoy a full-scope oral maxillofacial practice that includes exodontias, dental implants, jaw reconstruction, oral pathology, and orthognathic and facial cosmetic surgery.

DE&M: What finally prompted you to move ahead with the design of your present office?

Dr. Hackenberger: We were prompted to move ahead with this design because we had outgrown our previous space in size, capacity, and technology.

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DE&M: Where there problems influencing your practice that could not be overcome in your previous office?

Dr. Hackenberger: Our operatories were much too small for a modern practice and our laboratory and sterilization areas were completely inadequate. The overall design of the building was not conducive to projecting a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

DE&M: During your office’s building project, were there any unexpected delays, concerns, questions, or problems with the construction team?

Dr. Hackenberger: We did experience some delays secondary to some site preparations associated with building on a site of a previous gasoline station. Once the hurdles were overcome, construction proceeded very predictably. This was facilitated by careful coordination with Sullivan-Schein.

DE&M: What are the main features of your office?

Dr. Hackenberger: The feature mentioned most by our patients is extensive use of windows to provide a view of the outside and reduce the feeling of claustrophobia or enclosure.

DE&M: Do you have room for future growth? Are you presently using all of your operatories? Are the any plans for growth in the near fuure?

We do have room for future growth in the form of seeing more patients, but we are currently using all our operatories. This facility was designed to include provisions for additional rooms for equipment and employees. Our operating room is used more each month as we schedule larger cases for patients.

Summit’s new building in Grosse Point Woods, Mich., provides a tremendous working environment for Dr. John Hackenberger and the group’s approximately 40 employees. The new building is one of four Summit practices.
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DE&M: What comments from patients do you and your staff hear concerning your office?

Dr. Hackenberger: Patients say the office is very clean, comfortable, and very welcoming based on the design and the color scheme. The patients particularly like the use of natural light that make the spaces more welcoming.

DE&M: What is the square footage of your office?

Dr. Hackenberger: It is 3,600 square feet on the first floor, and approximately 1,800 square feet in the basement with a large conference room.

DE&M: It what type of setting is it located?

r. Hackenberger: Our office is a stand-alone building, with us as the only tenant at the corner of two major thoroughfares in the suburban city of Grosse Pointe Woods.

DE&M: What is the size of your staff?

Dr. Hackenberger: The size of the staff in all, not including the surgeons, is approximately 40 employees across the corporation. In this office, we have anywhere from one to two surgeons per day with about seven staff members.

DE&M: What advice would you give to a fellow dentist who is thinking about a new design for his or her office?

Dr. Hackenberger: The advice I will give regarding any design for a new office is that the dentist absolutely must work with a registered architect in the design and program of the office. This will make the difference in making the office more functional with the least amount of wasted space and meet both needs and wants when it comes to occupying the office.

DE&M: How important is technology in your present office? Was it a consideration when designing and building the office?

Dr. John Hackenberger
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Dr. Hackenberger: Technology was a very strong consideration in the development of our office; we have all four of our office networks together over a T1 data line to our main server at our main office. This office is networked extensively. Our office phone system is digitally based and uses voiceover Internet protocols (VOIP) to communicate with the other offices, which are spread over three area codes. This saves the cost of local long distance phone calls by using the bandwidth of our data lines to transmit verbal conversations. We have infrastructure provisions in the walls to use digital radiography. Once a system works with our patient-management software, it is fully functional.

DE&M: What new pieces of technology have you recently incorporated into your practice?

We have always had state-of-the art surgical equipment, including radio-frequency surgical units, carbon dioxide lasers, platelet-rich plasma centrifuges, etc.

Windows throughout the operatories reduce the feeling of claustrophobia and enclosure.
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DE&M: How has building this new office resulted in additional revenue, and how has it affected your profitability?

The new location has been a tremendous benefit to the practice. The more visible signage has made it much easier to find our office and provided better recognition of the practice to the community. By renovating this site, the local landscape has improved dramatically, much to the local residents’ pleasure. The very modern and up-to-date spaces give our patients a great deal of confidence, which has increased patient-based referrals. It has increased the referral of patients, and the added space allows us to take on larger procedures that improve our profitability. Our biggest benefit is the provision of a fully functional operating room, which allows us to provide general anesthesia. We can perform a variety of procedures including harvesting of bone from the iliac crest (hip), facelift, blephoplasty (eye lids) and other procedures. These patients who would otherwise be treated in the hospital can be treated in the office, much to the pleasure of the patients. An added benefit is that it helps keep their personal costs down.

DE&M: Has your new office turned out to be everything you wanted?

Dr. Hackenberger: After almost three years in this office, I feel that is has absolutely turned out to be what we had envisioned and hoped to occupy. This office provides excellent flow of both patients and care. We have eliminated the congestion that used to plague our previous office and have built an office that is pleasant to occupy. This office makes it more enjoyable to come to work and treat patients in a comfortable environment.

DE&M: Who were some of the key people who helped with the construction of the office?

Dr. Hackenberger: The architect/designer was Mike Ostrowski - (248) 739-7373. Construction was handled by The Monahan Company - (586) 774-3500.