Missouri dental office combines technology and design to produce a winning practice
By Jeff Carter, DDS
Congratulations to Gary L. Buzbee, DDS, Roger D. Buzbee, DDS, Todd K. Buzbee, DDS, Tyler G. Buzbee, DDS, and the Buzbee Dental Clinic of Springfield, Mo., for winning the 2006 Dental Office Design Competition category for best selection, integration, and use (or plan for use) of dental technology for practice needs and objectives.
For a patient visiting this unique 16-operatory facility for the first time, it is immediately apparent that technology, contemporary esthetics, and state-of-the-art dental care are high priorities of the Buzbee dental team. The exterior building shell is a combination of striking architectural shapes and forms veneered in panelized building systems leading to powerful geometries and “gi-normous” curb appeal.
In this large facility of 9,775 square feet with multiple clinical, private office, and business area workstations, network performance is critical. Buzbee Dental’s wired network connects all clinical and business area computers. “Hard-wired” Cat 5e and Cat 6 cable (industry standards for dental facilities) RJ-45 connections support a 1000 base T network, the fastest network available at this time that is congruent with dental facility applications. They also maintain a wireless network to allow laptops with wireless network cards to be utilized throughout the facility. A great use of a wirelessly connected laptop can be to inventory supplies in a large bulk storage area vs. installing a permanent workstation in an area where it is infrequently accessed. Buzbee Dental has also incorporated bar code scanners and labels to augment inventory control and ordering of supplies.
Wireless networks can provide additional flexibility in a facility and are not recommended as the primary network infrastructure. “Extreme G” wireless network cards transmit data at approximately 108 mps, are prone to interference, and are approximately nine times slower than a gigabit 1000 base T wired network. (Other wireless network options (such as A and B) transmit data much slower than extreme G.)
Highly beneficial additional aspects of Buzbee Dental’s system configuration include:
- All computer workstations connected to Internet
- Remote access to database for doctors and staff
- Off-site Web-based data backup in addition to on-site hardware backup
- Synchronization of database to handheld device for off-site portability and viewing by doctors and staff
Buzbee Dental utilizes Eaglesoft for dental practice management and clinical image management. They feel Eaglesoft has allowed them to incorporate all the advantages digital technology has to offer. Patient educational programming (CAESY), clinical charting capability, and PowerPoint-style treatment consultation presentations are all key aspects of this facility’s use of technology. In fact, patients entering the reception area are greeted by a large flat panel monitor displaying the latest in dental treatment options. The reception area monitor is esthetically captured within a series of floating panels. Buzbee Dental has done a terrific job of avoiding the challenges of tastefully incorporating large monitor displays within a dental facility. Poorly conceived placement options of large monitor displays can often connote more of a “sports bar” esthetic and can be a detriment to an otherwise professional atmosphere.
Dental technology hardware
Wired digital radiography sensors are available for use in all 16 operatories. Immediate intraoral CCD capture of digital radiographic provides a huge boost to Buzbee Dental’s clinical efficiency. In addition, Buzbee Dental utilizes a direct capture panoramic unit with an adjacent workstation for immediate viewing of captured images. Digital panoramic units have made tremendous advances recently in the marketplace in terms of image quality, reliability, and pricing. In specific applications, many practitioners are reporting the viability of isolating images of individual teeth for diagnostic viewing from the larger panoramic image. This is a testament to the vast improvements in panoramic image quality and resolution. The forward-thinking Buzbee Dental team has already envisioned plans to add iCAT style 3-D imaging capability to the panoramic configuration to augment implant procedures.
Buzbee Dental also utilizes intraoral cameras and an extraoral digital camera to visually educate and inform patients. These images are captured, imaged, and stored in the patient’s database for future reference.
Monitor displays and computer positioning in the operatory can be a challenge. Buzbee Dental strategically positions a 12 o’clock doctor and assistant accessible workstation. The 12 o’clock monitor is placed on a cabinetry shelf at approximately 48 inches above the floor. This positions the screen at the same height as the doctor’s and assistant’s eye-line. A pull-out keyboard is positioned next to the 12 o’clock monitor and can be extended and accessed for data entry by either doctor or assistant. A wireless mouse provides the ultimate in positioning flexibility at the 12 o’clock position. A wireless optical mouse is easily managed for infection control purposes and can be placed inside a plastic barrier without disruption to performance. Buzbee Dental takes full advantage of their technology applications through an operatory design that facilitates network access during all phases of clinical treatment. In addition, one of the four doctors is left-handed and all operatory equipment/technology configurations are ambidextrous.
Buzbee Dental operatories also include a patient viewing flat panel monitor attached to the dental patient chair on a post in the 3 o’clock position in specific operatories. Other operatories feature a radius style post with an additional multipositional arm segment to further enhance the patient monitor viewing positions. Either of these options allows terrific positioning for the doctor or staff member to sit upright alongside a patient and view the display information. The additional multi-positional arm provides positioning options to facilitate reclined viewing for patients during a procedure. Multi-input flat panel monitors with TV tuners are excellent options for patient viewing monitors. These monitors allow connection of VGA or DVI cables to display all digital/computer network related information and an RG-6 coaxial connection to a TV tuner for entertainment/relaxation patient programming.
Part of Buzbee Dental’s programming information to their facility design team was to create a low-maintenance facility. The choices of hard surface flooring, durable pre-manufactured operatory cabinetry systems, and solid surface countertops address many maintenance concerns in this facility.
A secondary monitor, hidden from patient view, is positioned at 12 o’clock and equipped with flexible inputting devices shared by doctor and assistant.
A CEREC 3-D unit was recently added to Buzbee Dental. Skeptical staff members quickly recognized the value of this increasingly popular restorative option for patients. Buzbee Dental stores the acquisition and milling unit in the lab area. The milling unit is housed in the very attractive and functional Sirona cabinet designed specifically for this use. Many CEREC users have discovered patients’ fascination with the milling process and have chosen to display the milling unit in operatory corridors or niches. The milling process does generate a loud grinding sound that is preferably controlled by a cabinet enclosure that still allows viewing and manipulation access.
All operatories are equipped with electric handpieces. These popular alternatives to pneumatic handpieces minimize anxiety-producing “drilling sounds” emanating from the clinic area. In addition, electric handpieces have great torque and are not prone to stall out when encountering resistance.
Additional technology benefits
Buzbee Dental credits their technology systems for greatly facilitating a unique transition that combined two existing facilities into an award-winning new facility. Many of their existing patients were more aware of the latest in dental technology than Buzbee Dental doctors and staff had expected. Many patients are not surprised by all the technology upgrades offered in the new facility and, in fact, now expect and demand the new higher standard of care.
Congratulations again to Buzbee Dental for a commitment to a unique facility that offers their patients’ the best dentistry has to offer. We wish them well as they advance their practice careers and look forward to many years of great dentistry!
A Biographical Sketch
Dr. Jeff Carter is co-owner of the Practice Design Group, based in Austin, Texas. PDG specializes in providing architectural, interior design and equipment, and technology integration services to dentists nationwide. Dr. Carter may be contacted by phone at (512) 295-2224, by e-mail at [email protected], or by visiting PDG’s Web site at www.practicedesigngroup.com.