It was with great pleasure that Australasian Dental Practice announced the winner of the $120,000 Surgery Makeover Contest sponsored by Halas Dental and Medifit last year in our November/December edition. The winner, Dr Susan Nadebaum, a dental therapist who had returned to school at age 39 to become a dentist, couldn't believe her luck.
"I can't believe I've won; I'm stunned," Dr Nadebaum said at the time from her somewhat cramped quarters at Jetty Road Dental Care in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg as she was presented with the obligatory oversized cheque to mark the occasion.
Since then, progress has been made in turning Dr Nadebaum's dream of an ideal working environment into a reality. It would be fair to say that she had had plenty of time to contemplate exactly what lacked in her treatment room; her competition entry certainly testified to that fact.
As a result, when it came time to sit down with the design team at Medifit, Dr Nadebaum had a clear image of her surgery in mind: "Overall I want clean, crisp, natural lines. I want it to be smart and professional with a layer of warmth and comfort".
This is in stark contrast to the current surgery set-up that features cramped working conditions and a colour scheme that is more tragic than retro.
A site survey was first conducted by Medifit to investigate the "lay of the land". According to Medifit Design Director Geoff Raphael, the room to be refitted was actually one large room divided into two surgeries. "It was roughly rectangular in shape, measuring 2.6m x 4.8m with a bay window bisected by the dividing wall at the foot of the room," he said.
"The adjoining half of the room was slightly wider but had an old fireplace and chimney stack to contend with along one wall. Packed into this space was a working surgery and combined office/workspace for the dentist. A small amount of natural light enters via the bay window, which fronts a busy street and footpath."
The room's size was never going to suit the new layout that Medifit was planning and the new equipment that would be provided by Halas, so it was decided that the dividing wall would be demolished and rebuilt in a location that allowed both rooms to be of a suitable size and shape. This in turn, would expose more of the bay window to Dr Nadebaum's room and allow more natural light to enter.
The shape and layout of the cabinets was chosen to be a more efficient working environment. An 'L' shaped set of cabinets will extend down the dividing wall and into the room, separating the dentist's workspace from the surgery proper.
The colour scheme and the finishes on the bench tops and cupboards were all chosen to take maximum advantage of the natural light entering the room.
The end result of the concepts is a room transformed to reflect the professionalism and drive of Dr Nadebaum. Now armed with the 3D computer visuals of how the project will look upon completion, she is working through the finer points of the design and surgery requirements as part of the comprehensive documentation process Medifit employs prior to construction.
The completed project will appear in a subsequent edition of Australasian Dental Practice.