Story provided. Photos by Bob Lammers.
“We’re small-town America here and we love it,” said Dr. James Overman, founder of Minster Dental Care. “We just treat people the way they want to be treated and they keep coming back as satisfied customers - and they bring their friends.”
This is the philosophy for the owners of Minster Dental Care, located in the heart of the Midwest in Minster, Ohio. With a rich history beginning in the 1830s and a current population around 3,000, the village of Minster is a quiet, but thriving community. It is also the perfect location for three Minster natives to open a new dental facility designed to serve the community and surrounding counties for routine dental care as well as some specialized procedures.
The practice is a tapestry of earthtones, modern details, and the latest technology. It is a study of beauty and function and creates a relaxing, but thriving environment for dental care. With almost 8,000 square feet servicing more than 12,000 patients, the north side of the building serves as the operative center while the south side houses the hygiene business with seven dental hygienists on staff in addition to the three dentists, one hygiene assistant, four expanded function dental assistants, and four managerial staff members.
About 80 to 90 patients come through the practice a day, and 60 new patients join every month. Considering the amount of traffic through the practice, the move from the existing building to the new building had to be carefully orchestrated to avoid any inconvenience to the patients or disruption of the daily activities of such a large practice. As a result of careful planning and detailed scheduling, downtime for the move was minimal. In fact, the office was only closed for one day during the moving process.
“We believe that to provide a good service, you have to be willing to invest in good products and technologies,” said Dr. James Meiring, one of two owners of the new facility. “That is why we decided to build this facility in the first place. We want to be able to best serve the families who already trust their dental care to us as well as to attract future patients.”
Along with Dr. Shawn Sharp, the other facility owner, and Dr. Overman, the three Minster natives have done just that. They have built a beautiful office that maximizes their use of space and has created a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for their patients.
Dr. Overman is the founder and original owner of The Minster Dental Center, beginning his practice in 1976 with two chairs compared to the 12 Midmark operatories in place today.
Dr. Overman had always wanted to be a dentist since he was a little boy, and operated the practice on his own until Dr. Meiring joined him in 1988. Then, in 1997, Dr. Sharp rounded out the team and the three are still successfully together.
According to Dr. Overman, the biggest change in the industry has occurred over the past 30 years through technology. In fact, he feels the dental industry has changed more in the last 30 years with the explosion of technology than during any other time in the history of the profession. Dr. Sharp has made sure the new practice pays homage to that and is equipped with the latest equipment, from PCs at every operatory to link with monitors for patient viewing to importing digital photography and X-rays into the patient’s electronic dental file, all part of an overall computerized practice-management system.
New Midmark lights and stools are resident in the office, in addition to the ultraleather chairs that patients say are so comfortable that they don’t want to get up and leave after their procedures and dental hygiene treatments are finished. The clinic also had two Midmark sterilizers on-site (one M9 and one M11) as well as other state-of-the-art equipment such as advanced curing systems and a ScanX digital imaging system.
In fact, these dentists knew from the beginning of this endeavor that to increase the size of their practice, they would need to incorporate state-of-the-art technology as well as beautiful design. They partnered with an expert in the industry to help make that happen. Dr. Sharp met Dr. Jeff Carter at a continuing-education program that Dr. Carter was leading and the plans for their expanded practice began to take shape.
Dr. Carter is the founder and co-owner of the Practice Design Group located in Buda, Texas. PDG assists clients to customize facilities that are reflections of their unique practice philosophy. Dr. Carter and his wife, Pat, a licensed interior designer specializing in dental spaces, worked with the dentists from Minster Dental Care to create the beautiful space that they work in today.
“What we loved about Jeff and his group was that they took over the planning the first day we met with them, but still kept us totally involved in every step along the way,” Dr. Sharp said. “It was the perfect combination of us driving what we wanted to see in the new facility without having to oversee every single detail to make it a reality.”
According to Dr. Sharp, Dr. Carter compiled detailed information on the practice, which resulted in more than 80 pages of plans of every view and every item in the existing facility and what was to be part of the new office. The original plans for the building began in October of 2003, but really began to take shape in June of 2004. The new office opened in the summer of 2005.
“Originally, the doctors thought they wanted to remodel their existing space and that’s where we started,” said Dr. Carter. “However, once they realize that they were going to need a lot more space as well as specialized areas, we quickly realized that they were going to need to build a new structure that could be specifically shaped around their practice goals.”
While the number of patients coming through Minster Dental Care was high, there were other important elements to consider as the building began to take shape. For example, with three dentists working in the same facility, many patients are coming and going at the same time. The new facility has a specific traffic flow pattern to keep the incoming patients separate from the finished patients so there is not a logjam as people are registering or checking out. The dentists also knew they needed exclusive areas for private conversations, and two personal consultation rooms were built for that purpose.
“Anytime we begin a new project, we consider many aspects of that practice - the dentists, the patients, and the surrounding community,” said Dr. Carter. “People are always attracted to nice spaces. Even though Minster is a rural community, we knew the residents would appreciate a beautiful, contemporary facility as much as any urban resident and that the products we used would have to be top-of-the-line and using the latest technology.
“We pulled from the creativity of all three dentists to create a building that is high-tech and tailored to their specific styles. It’s a beautiful combination of geometry, wood, and stone, and the result is that the structure is very interesting to view,” Dr. Carter continued. “Patients always appreciate it when they see their dentist reinvesting in the practice.”
The Practice Design Group team, including architects Dave Fazio and Tom Lea of Austin, Texas, collaborated with a local construction company, H. A. Dorsten, to build the facility. “We do more than just design the building,” said Dr. Carter. “We oversee the overall construction process as well. In fact, we help our clients get ready for the entire construction process by helping them understand the overall scope of the project and how to make it real.”
Upon completion, the Practice Design Group had spent 700 hours of consultation time and more than 1,200 hours of CAD drafting time to make the Minster Dental Care facility a reality.
According to Dr. Carter, Minster Dental Care is the perfect working example of the most complex type of building project. “We help to bridge the gap between the design world and the dental world, and Minster Dental Care is a tribute to that collaboration - all for the benefit of their patients.”
Contact Minster Dental Center by calling (419) 628-3380.