In a resto-renovation that would rival the reality TV show “The Block”, a simple weatherboard cottage has been completely renovated for its new life as “time warp” orthodontic practice.
Dr Nerissa Green, who operates Charlestown Orthodontics, had to negotiate a raft of planning approval hurdles aimed at retaining the “residential façade” and character of the original cottage, while adapting it to suit orthodontic use. The makeover was conducted by surgery design fit-out company, Perfect Practice of Sydney, with new equipment supplied by Sydney A-dec dealer, Dental Installations.
The brief was a challenging one, given Dr Green’s desire to provide an “open plan” surgery within the existing footprint of an old building without compromising its structural integrity. At the same time, she wanted to make the practice funky and inviting on the inside, belying the modest mid-century weatherboard exterior. The interior décor gives a nod to the nearby coast and has a relaxed “beach house” feel that appeals to both boys and girls, without alienating adult patients. This was important to Dr Green to make the visit to the orthodontist a fun experience and not at all like a medical facility. Extensive use of natural timber flooring, a wood grain reception desk and a soft leather sofa add to the relaxed feel. The background colours of antique white are offset with feature walls and splash backs in a “Tiffany” blue that complement the light walls and natural timber finishes. The ambience is further accentuated by a large painted canvass depicting a surf beach, which is hung in an illuminated recessed niche in the reception area. An additional splash of colour is introduced with the use of timeless Eames style waiting room chairs in alternating colours of bright orange, sky blue and white. Everywhere you look there are clever designer details like funky wooden pendants with filament globes, a wall clock with an orange frame and blue face matching the other décor and a timber laminate patient refresh area with above bench basin.
Altogether, the atmosphere is modern, yet relaxed and inviting – a perfect environment for treating young patients yet stylish enough for adults as well. Inside, a cavernous north facing open plan surgery with two patient chairs has been built to improve workflow to make visits quicker and more efficient. Although she already had patient chairs from another practice, Dr Green took the opportunity to upgrade her dental delivery systems and assistant’s work surfaces with the A-dec system, which better supports four-handed dentistry.
“We do adjustments at 15 minute intervals, so they have to be very high-paced,” Dr Green said. “The assistant has to be organised and have things on the work surface ready and know what to give me quickly without getting up from the chair. We have all the instruments out of the way, but right near the chair when we need them. That’s why we designed two surgeries which are a mirror image of each other so we can do all the procedures in any chair. As one is being cleaned, I go to the next chair to continue working and it’s a really nice flow.”
In addition to the discrete foldaway A-dec 542 side delivery systems with W&H instruments, Dr Green also opted for a ceiling-mounted A-dec LED operatory light. The LED ceiling light has the advantage of very long bulb life without the “spotlight” effect or the heat of a halogen lamp. It also has adjustable light intensity with the LEDs arranged in a stadium style to reduce shadowing, plus a “cure safe” function if needed. “From an orthodontic point of view, normal lights can set off composite bonds used on orthodontic brackets too early, so the LED gives me more time to work,” Dr Green said. The practice has a separate sterilisation room and a lab; a dedicated OPG room with the latest Acteon X-Mind Trium OPG; a glass walled consulting office with fun camera for patient photos; a private, but very large staff area that doubles as a training room; as well as a well-appointed kitchen and staff amenities with lockers.
The end result is really like two parallel worlds – a neatly kept dove grey and white “weatherboard cottage” look on the outside blending into its semiresidential location and a stylish, modern and well-equipped orthodontic practice on the inside. Dr Green said she was thrilled with the end result, which was a hit with both patients and staff, creating a nice environment for both to be in. She added that making the move to set up her own practice together with her partner Arty Olivares (the practice manager), was made all the easier by the assistance given by Sydney A-dec dealer, Dental Installations. “We’re extremely happy with our dental equipment technician, Darren Welsh and with everyone at Dental Installations and also the support and training we’ve received from Acteon for our new OPG machine. Having our own OPG machine is much better for patients and gives us quicker and much more consistent results than having to refer patients to outside services for imaging appointments,” Dr Green said. Charlestown Orthodontics is located at 286 Charlestown Road, Charlestown, NSW.
By David Petrikas
Australasian Dental Practice