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Office Spotlight: A peach of a practice in Valdosta, Ga.

Sept. 1, 2006
When Drs. Ashley Moorman and Barclay Woodward formed their partnership, Advanced Dental Care LLC, on the cusp of the new millennium, they had a five-year plan.

When Drs. Ashley Moorman and Barclay Woodward formed their partnership, Advanced Dental Care LLC, on the cusp of the new millennium, they had a five-year plan. Their ultimate goal was to build one of the Southeast’s finest cutting-edge cosmetic dentistry practices from the ground up.

“We shared a vision of building a state-of-the-art general dentistry practice with a focus on cosmetics,” Dr. Moorman explained.

“We wanted to practice the type of dentistry that would change people’s lives. We wanted to build a practice around cosmetics,” Dr. Woodward added.

Another way the doctors like to describe their practice niche is “complex functional dentistry which includes endodontics and periodontics with a focus on cosmetics and full-mouth rehabilitation.”

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But before they could break ground on their dream dental practice, the two young dentists had to pay some dues and tuition bills. So for four years, they each rotated with one dental assistant each between two offices in the South Georgia towns of Valdosta and Quitman.

Although both locations did well thanks to local demand, efficient scheduling, and flexible, well-trained assistants, Valdosta was the town they chose for the cosmetic dentistry practice they were planning to build. That’s because Valdosta represented the demographic “sweet spot” they desired.

As the largest city in southern Georgia, Valdosta has a population of about 100,000, including the surrounding county, and is rapidly becoming a metropolitan area.

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“The town is home to a diverse mix of middle-and-upper-class residents,” Dr. Moorman said. “Within close proximity are Moody Air Force Base, which has always kept us busy with restoration and implant work, and Valdosta State University.”

“The interesting thing about Valdosta State University is that many students decide to settle in the area after graduation,” Dr. Woodward said. “That’s because Valdosta is really the best of both worlds - a blend of a cosmopolitan town and Main Street U.S.A.”

The right plan = the right stuff

When it was time to build their new facility, the doctors retained the dental office planning services of dentist/architect Dr. Michael Unthank. An ergonomics and workflow guru, Dr. Unthank worked with Island Dental to design an office of unprecedented comfort and efficiency. Some of the design suggestions that Drs. Woodward and Moorman adopted were:

  • A front desk that consists of multiple check-in and checkout stations, which virtually eliminates all patient flow bottlenecks.
  • Multiple, yet identical, operatories, eliminating overuse of the “favorite room.”
  • Supply cabinets in strategic locations throughout each office; for example, hygienist supplies within easy reach of the hygienist’s work area.
  • A totally digitally and virtually paperless practice with 35 networked computers.
  • Centralized sterilization and lab accessible to all operatories.
  • 19-inch flat-screen color monitors connected to individual DVD playback systems (patients can bring their own DVDs).
  • Multiline telephone system in every room.
  • In-house digital photo studio equipped with six different backdrops for before-and-after photos.
  • Digital radiography in every operatory.
  • In-house dental learning center equipped with a 50-inch Plasma TV, complete media center, PowerPoint capability, and refreshment area.
  • Private consultation room.
  • Large picture windows in every operatory.
  • Spacious staff lounge complete with personal lockers, washer/dryer, kitchen, and private bathroom.
  • Lab and parcel pick-up/drop-off area located in tiled area at rear entrance. This eliminates the need for couriers to come into the main office.
  • 5,000-degree Kelvin lights above the patient for the best color-corrected lighting available.
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Despite all the technology, Dr. Unthank and Island Dental were able to design a very upscale, warm ambiance.

“Patient comfort goes beyond the operatory chair,” Dr. Moorman said. “The overall esthetic experience really goes a long way to putting a patient at ease and feeling confident about the level of care they are about to receive.”

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The visual centerpiece of Advanced Dental Care is a huge window overlooking more than 1.5 acres of meticulously landscaped grounds. In addition, there are granite accents throughout the office interior to lend an upscale appearance. There is also functional aspect to the office esthetics.

“The blue color scheme of the walls, furniture and accessories was chosen not only to provide a tranquil, soothing environment,” Dr. Woodward explained. “It was selected because it will not cause a color reflection that distorts color perception and defeats the purpose of our special color-corrected lighting system. The result is the most accurate color and shade matching possible.”

Putting the plan together

“We had a great plan that required the integration of lots of technology and equipment from multiple vendors,” Dr. Moorman stated. “Unless that plan was well executed, a lot of the ergonomic and efficiency benefits of Dr. Unthank’s painstaking design would be lost. Fortunately for us, the Island Dental team was able to procure, install, calibrate, integrate, and service all equipment and furnishings. Island’s Southeast branch manager Andy Wildes, sales rep Pat Hill, and service technicians Jim Barker and Tim Hutto worked on site to coordinate the project, ensure everything worked, and train our entire staff.”

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“This was one of our most exciting projects to date,” Wildes added. “This is truly a state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry spa of national stature and a perfect example of where dentistry is heading.”

A personal touch - never obsolete

According to Drs. Woodward and Moorman, no amount of technology, ergonomics, or interior design will ever take the place of well-trained, dedicated staff. “Despite all the technological advancements, dentistry is still about people helping other people,” Dr. Woodward stated.

The doctors are very particular about the people they hire. They not only look for well-trained, knowledgeable, and personable candidates; they look for people completely dedicated to the patient.

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“Candidates must be able to uphold our stringent standards of patient care, which are modeled on the Ritz-Carlton Gold Standards,” Dr. Woodward said. “We look for people who share our vision of operating a premier dental facility based on integrity, commitment and trust.”

Continuing education and training are a top priority to the principals of Advanced Dental Care, and easy to provide thanks to the practice’s education and conference center, which was part of the original plan.

“When we were rotating between our two offices, we could never hold a meeting with our entire staff, let alone conduct any serious training,” Dr. Moorman said. “We had no room and no presentation capabilities.”

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All that has changed. The education center can seat 16 people, which is the entire staff and then some. The audio-visual equipment boasts a 50-inch plasma screen monitor, two networked laptop computers, and conference call capabilities.

“We’ve found it easier and more cost-effective to pay a consultant or key opinion leader to conduct a seminar in our office rather than attend one at a trade show or conference,” Dr. Woodward said. The education center not only enables Advanced Dental Care to lay claim to having the best-trained staff in the region. It is also a profit center. The facility, which is superior to those found at most local hotels, can be rented out to other companies and organizations that need a modern facility to conduct their own seminars, meetings, or training sessions.

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More importantly, the education and conference center is utilized on a daily basis when the doctors hold their team-building meetings to ensure the entire staff is informed, motivated, and empowered to provide the best level of patient care.

If you build it, make sure they come

What’s the point of having the best dental facility between Atlanta and Orlando if nobody knows about it? That’s why Drs. Moorman and Woodward have invested in a fairly comprehensive mix of marketing tactics to promote Advanced Dental Care. Here’s just a sample of what they’ve implemented since opening their doors in April:

  • New logo and letterhead
  • Yellow Pages ads
  • Monthly ads in three different regional high-end lifestyle publications
  • Billboards on some of Valdosta’s busiest roads
  • Local placement of Zoom! Tooth whitening television commercials that include their contact information
  • Direct mail
  • Sponsorship of local events and charities
  • Volunteer work such as free dental clinics and oral cancer screenings
  • Participation in career days at local schools, including office tours
  • New Web site (
  • Radio ads during Georgia Bulldog broadcasts

Both doctors agree that the most important component of their marketing mix is word-of-mouth recommendations. According to Dr. Moorman, “Personal relationships and patient satisfaction are our top source of continued elective treatment and new patient referrals. At the end of the day, it’s always ‘How many people have our people helped?’”

Drs. Barclay Woodward (left) and Ashley Moorman
How to contact Advanced Dental Care LLC
Phone - (229) 242-4441
Address - 3211 Wildwood Plantation Drive
Valdosta, GA 31605-1042
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