In the deepest, darkest corner of dental practices of old, sat the grizzled bastion of infection control – the sterilization center. It was here that sterilization occurred, far from the sight of any well-meaning patients who may have accidentally stumbled upon the horrors of used dental instruments…
This is, of course, is no longer the case. Over the last few decades, the image of the sterilization center has changed dramatically. What once was hidden away is now displayed in the open, even serving as the focal point of many practices!
Before you remodel, expand, or build a new practice, there are three dirty little secrets about sterilization that you should consider.
DIRTY LITTLE SECRET #1: YOUR STERILIZATION CENTER CAN BE A MARKETING PIECE
Here is the gorgeous sterilization center of Gene E. Messenger, DDS, in North Adams, Massachusetts. [Source]
In this age of information, patients are better informed than they’ve ever been before. Because of this, they know more about their health and expect more from their healthcare providers.
What does this mean in the dental office? Patients recognize what measures you’re taking for infection control. They’re aware of best practices, and they’re actively looking to make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to maintain a sterile environment.
When remodeling or building a new office, a manufactured sterilization center can help market to your patients that you care about the environment you treat them in. Additionally, when placed in a high trafficked location, your sterilization center offers transparency and builds confidence in your staff and your practice.
These four sterilization center layouts are all located in highly visible areas of their practices, and feature open layouts or transparent glass, which likewise conveys transparency to customers! [Source]
DIRTY LITTLE SECRET #2: DENTAL FURNITURE IS GENERALLY A MORE COST-EFFECTIVE STERILIZATION OPTION
Talk about an inviting space! This sterilization room, complete with chandelier, can be seen at Smiles by Design Dentistry in Los Gatos, California. [Source]
When considering your options, both dental furniture and custom millwork approaches will likely meet your needs – at least right away. While custom millwork may have initial short-term cost savings, however, it may be more advantageous for the long-term success of a practice for you to explore a dental furniture solution.
Dental furniture solutions take much of the guesswork and configuration questions out of the process. The manufacturers of these all-in-one sterilization centers already have considered and solved many of the potential issues that a typical dental office faces, including dirty-to-clean process workflow, touchless sinks or drawers, and durable finishes designed to withstand high moisture levels. See more in the graphic below:
DIRTY LITTLE SECRET #3: A STERILIZATION CENTER’S FLOORPLAN CAN GREATLY AFFECT A PRACTICE’S EFFICIENCY
This mixed wood, L-Shaped sterilization center can be found inside Memorial City Smiles in Houston, Texas. [Source]
Within your new or remodeled practice, the location and layout of the sterilization center can be very important when striving to maximize efficiency for your staff. There are two common types of sterilization layouts that you will find in many dental offices today: Galley and L-Shaped.
Below you’ll see the differences in these layouts. A great first step is to discuss with your Patterson Equipment Specialist and DesignEdge designer which type is right for you.
Then, once the layout of your sterilization center is determined, it is important to choose a location for the center within your practice optimized for ease of use for your staff. Typically, you should design this area to be in close proximity to the treatment rooms, with two entrances so your team can easily access and exit the area. Also be sure to incorporate enough depth in the space that an employee can pass behind someone working at the sterilization center.
There’s no longer a need to hide your sterilization center in the deep, dark corners. Let your practice’s hy-giene hy-gleam for all to see – your patients and staff will thank you for it!
- CLICK HERE to learn more about Patterson’s sterilization center offerings.
- CLICK HERE to download a printable PDF about design considerations for sterilization centers.
- CLICK HERE to browse our Pinterest-like online inspiration gallery of nearly 30 beautiful Sterilization centers located in existing dental practices.
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