Sydney’s Northern Peninsula starts at Manly and ends at Palm Beach and hosts some of Australia’s best-known swimming beaches and surf breaks. Avalon is one of those and Avalon Beach Family Dental is Dr Astrid Kylstra’s fun, vibrant new practice located some 40km from the Sydney CBD.
Twenty years after graduating dentistry at UQ, Dr Kylstra had worked a 3-year stint in Canberra before settling into long-term employment at a practice in Manly. With her children getting older however, she decided to challenge herself and embark on practice ownership for the first time. “I initially looked at buying a practice from a retiring dentist further up on Sydney’s northern beaches,” Dr Kylstra said. “But when that didn’t work out, a friend mentioned there was commercial space available in the Avalon Village, so I ended up buying space there with my super fund to start a practice in. Avalon’s close to home for me, has a very large public school and at the time, was not over-supplied with dentists compared to some areas of Sydney, so it had a lot going for it.”
Dr Kylstra next went in search of a dental fit-out company that could transform the empty space into what would become Avalon Beach Family Dental. “We met with a few fit-out companies and in the end, Perfect Practice were the one that came across as the most professional,” Dr Kylstra said. “They came on site and we talked about our wish list. They had great ideas and listened to my creative input and what I had in mind now and for the future. The space is an odd shape and they were able to accommodate everything we wanted. We wanted to start with one chair but be able to expand to a second chair as we became busier. Plus we needed the usual reception, waiting and admin areas, a sterilization room and staff amenities.”
“We didn’t have to worry about too much after that as they looked after all the council approvals and everything else required. It was very well project managed and any problems were taken care of immediately.”
“Perfect Practice have a lot of experience designing and building dental practices and offered good insight into what dentists typically incorporate. After a couple of subsequent meetings at their offices, we had agreed on the final design and chosen the colour scheme, flooring materials and other details loosely around a beach theme. The final design for the practice incorporates two treatment rooms, with one operational and the second used as a children’s play area until required, a sterilization area, dentist’s office, reception and waiting area and a staff break room that includes lockers, a kitchenette and a breakfast bar that looks out to the courtyard.”
“The team at Perfect Practice made good use of the space and the reception area and main surgery take full advantage of the available natural light. It’s great to be able to look out at the greenery and the sky during the day. Placing the sterilization area between the two surgeries works well and the design overall is very functional. They were also expert at maximising storage in the small space.”
“We wanted to incorporate large photo murals on the walls in reception and the two surgeries and this has worked out well, inline with the beachside theme of the practice. When patients are
seated in the dental chair, it makes them feel like they’re on a sun lounge on the beach. Perfect Practice suggested we use floor to ceiling glass doors and these also work really well.”
Dr Kylstra said that the practice came together very quickly and they were operational within a few months of the design being finalised. “The whole project was completed very quickly. We had the first meeting in July, building work started mid to late August and we opened mid November. So it was quick and very easy. Perfect Practice took care of all the approvals and made sure everything complied with the relevant legislation. They delivered it on time and for the exact price we agreed to at the beginning of the project.”
“They were also very good at liaising with all the suppliers – from equipment to the IT installation for the Oasis practice management software. I chose a Sirona Sinius dental unit to work with, mostly because I’d been using Sirona equipment for most of my career and I know how comfortable and reliable it is. The chair is a ‘Lagoon’ colour with matching assistants’ stools. Sirona has great technical support for its products and they are very quick to respond to any issues that may arise with the chairs, sterilizer or x-ray units. We’re now waiting to fit out the second surgery, again with another Sirona Sinius.”
The practice opened with zero patients and has been growing steadily. Dr Kylstra is working 3.5 days a week and a second dentist covers the remainder of the week plus Saturdays. With the fitting out of the second surgery, a third dentist may be employed.
“I really love working here and having my own business,” Dr Kylstra said. “I love having more control over the systems, the materials and equipment we use as well as the treatment plans.”
“Perfect Practice did a great job for us, on time and on budget and made the transition to owning my first practice very easy. “We started with no patients but have been steadily growing since day one. We have a very nice, friendly, laid-back atmosphere in the practice and patients know we’re all a part of the same community.”
– By Joseph Allbeury
Australasian Dental Practice