By Joseph Allbeury
Cove Dental is the brand new practice of Dr. John Hills and his wife, Bomi, in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove, 10 kilometres from the CBD across the Harbour Bridge. The University of Sydney graduate had been looking to establish his first practice for a number of years and has finally made the move.
“I’d been looking to open my own practice for a number of years and had had a couple of false starts,” Dr Hills said. “It’s been ten years since I graduated, so the time was right to set-up my own practice, but finding the best location and premises was the difficult part.
“We’d looked in a few areas but without success. We live in Lane Cove and we ended up setting up the practice here as well. We kept walking past the location of the practice and the business that was there seemed to have closed down. So we approached the real estate agent and were able to secure the premises for the new practice on a long lease.
“There are several other dentists in Lane Cove, but everywhere is competitive these days, so the main thing was to make the practice look and feel different to everyone else. There is also a lot of new development in the area, with lots of unit blocks being built, so the population is growing and we could see the potential.”
Once the couple had secured the premises, they went about organising the design and construction of their new practice.
“I’ve known Peter at Perfect Practice for some time,” Dr Hills said. We spoke about the various aspects of opening up a new practice in the past. When he heard I was looking to set-up again, he contacted me. We talked to Peter and we talked to other specialist fit-out companies about designing and building the practice. In the end, Peter and the team from Perfect Practice came out on top. “Peter really understood what we wanted and how to make it work in the space we had. The designer from Perfect Practice was great and really maximised what we could make work in the relatively small area.”
Cove Dental incorporates a reception and waiting area, three treatment rooms, an OPG room, sterilisation area and lab, a staff room and a restroom.
“Perfect Practice managed to fit everything we requested into the space except for a separate office for me,” Dr Hills said. “It came down to either including a tiny office and a small staff room or a larger area for the staff, so we went with the latter.
“We also gave them a tight time frame for the build to take advantage of a rent free period we’d negotiated and they
delivered on that as well.”
“Bomi worked with the team at Perfect Practice on the colours and finishes, lighting and fabrics to ensure it was something special. She attended the design meetings and they were very accommodating and worked with us to get the result we wanted.”
Currently, only one of the treatment rooms at Cove Dental is operational, leaving room for expansion in years to come as the patient base grows. This also meant that the choice of equipment was critical.
“Because we only have one treatment room operational at present, choosing reliable equipment was paramount,” Dr Hills said. “I chose a Sirona Sinius treatment centre because I didn’t want any reliability issues. I’d been using a different brand of equipment and it was problematic. Colleagues I spoke to rated Sirona equipment and service highly and I also liked that the unit had a
built-in endodontic motor and apex locator as this is very useful.
So far, I have been very happy with their services and it’s also great to have their Australian headquarters office so close by. “We also went with Cattani compressor and suction systems because of the reliability factor. Other surgeries I’ve worked at would lose a lot of time because of poor air and suction and again, I wanted to avoid that as much as possible. Cattani rated very highly with everyone I spoke with so we went with that as well.
“James Fang from Dentsply Sirona was very helpful in making sure we made the right choices for maximum reliability and so far, all the decisions we’ve made have proven to be right.” Dr Hills also chose a Sirona Orthophos XG3D OPG unit specifically because it can be upgraded to a 3D CBCT system at any time in the future when patient volume has increased to justify the expenditure.
The sterilisation area features a Sirona DAC Premium steriliser. “Using Perfect Practice proved to be a wise choice and despite the tight timeframe, they delivered on schedule and within the budget. They have a lot of experience building dental practices and gave us a lot of helpful tips and suggestions. The results speak for themselves.
“It’s hard to set-up from scratch and it certainly was a challenge,” Dr Hills said. “We’ve tried various types of marketing to let people know we’re open and in the end, it is ‘word of mouth’ that seems to be the most effective marketing tool. We had very positive feedback from locals and if all things goes well, we are hoping to have our second room up and running towards the end
of the year. It’s already been 9 months since we opened and there certainly has been tough times, but it’s worth the hard work and stress to become established and along the way, we’re also having a lot of fun in the process.”