In many design studios, the design of dental surgeries only involves introducing small changes to the designs of doctor’s offices. It is true that both these issues are regulated almost exclusively in the same acts, but design practice is more than just creating designs in accordance with the law. Dental surgeries should be designed from scratch, even if the legal rules regulating this issue are similar to the regulations governing the design of doctor’s offices.
As far as the surgery area is concerned, here the regulations leave no doubt. The dental surgery can not be less than 12 m2, and each subsequent chair requires an increase of the surface by another 8 m2. In practice, very often a slightly larger area is allocated to the surgery to arrange a more friendly space. However, this is not necessary, especially that the regulations also contain information on how the work space outside the surgery should be organized.
The following rooms should be separated:
reception or registration;
rest and refreshment rooms;
toilets for patients and staff.
It is also possible, although it is not obligatory, to provide an additional room for storing dental accessories and tools that are not currently in use. In the reception or waiting room, there is usually a place where patients can leave their outer clothes, and very often a restroom with a larger washbasin is created so that patients can brush their teeth directly before the visit.
Regulations do not strictly prohibit the use of specific finishing materials - only desirable features are described in them, but only selected products have such features.
In no way does the law regulate the issue of the technology or colors of the finishing - these decisions are based on the expected way of operating the premises, and they are taken by the architect together with the investor.
The regulations also lack information on ceiling finishes- these are simply to be at 3.1 m, but the technology of their finishing has not been determined by the legislator, which gives some additional possibilities for the arrangement of dental surgery in a modern and convenient way.
Requirements regarding the office itself are also worth transferring into other rooms in dental practice, and this is because such an approach allows to maintain aesthetic consistency between all rooms, and also facilitates the maintenance of cleanliness in all rooms.
In many cases, a dental surgery needs a more extensive set of furniture than a doctor’s office. This results from the fact that dentists need to store more accessories and tools. However, as for the construction of the furniture itself, there are practically no differences – the furniture must hang or be based on furniture legs in order to ensure full access to the floor. The exception here is the reception desk, which is treated as an architectural structure by the regulations, not a piece of furniture, and therefore it is allowed to place it in practically in any place.
Designing dental surgeries without taking the lighting conditions into account is pointless. In practice, there are two views on this issue – according to the opinion of traditionalist investors, a dental surgery should be designed in such a way as to maximize the availability of daylight. According to a more modern concept, artificial lighting is what matters the most, and daylight is only its complement. In both cases, however, the role of lighting for the correct dental diagnosis and treatment is emphasized. Usually, in the design of surgeries, the postulates of both theories are taken into account – a large amount of sunlight is provided by avoiding obscuring the window openings, and artificial lighting with the required characteristics is installed.
Despite some legal and functional constraints, architects responsible for creating dental surgery designs have a lot of potential when it comes to choice of materials and interior finishing elements. However, they do so in consultation with the investor, because when designing a dental surgery, attention is paid not only to the patient’s feelings, design economy or aesthetics, but also specific requirements related to the specialization of the surgery. It is impossible to design all medical offices in the same way – a place for specialized equipment, dental materials or tools that occupy different space in individual offices are taken into account, what results from the specialization of individual dentists.
Such an approach often requires re-thinking the basic design concept, because in some cases it may be necessary, for example, to separate an additional room, which will have a function of a specialist diagnostic point for a dentist specializing in implantology or a room where patients can rest, if the dentist specializes in long-term and often tiring medical treatments.
Although the basic rules for designing dental surgeries are perfectly clear and fully understandable, in many cases they need to be expanded and modified for a specific project. This is important because the design of the surgery affects the ability of proper performance of duties by the dentist. Therefore, architects who create dental surgeries on the basis of the designs of doctor’s offices most often fall into the trap of simplification. In many cases, the transfer of such designs is very difficult or impossible – they will look very good on paper and on visualization, but in practice they will be non-ergonomic, completely non-functional and will fail to perform the most important task – to make a good impression on the patients, who feel safer in the well-designed surgery. A close cooperation of the investor and architect is very important from the very beginning – this is the only way to create a dental surgery that, in addition to being visually attractive, will be first of all friendly and functional, thus becoming a dentist’s showcase, as important as his or her diplomas and certificates confirming the completion of specialized courses and trainings.
See also: Designing aesthetic medicine clinics