In the spring edition of Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine, Dr. David J. Ahearn, a dentist and the president of Design Ergonomics, recently offered his top three tips to give yourself (and your patients) a little bit of breathing room.

1. Consolidate. Thoroughly stock treatment rooms to handle your most common procedures — but no more than 10 days’ worth. Centralize storage and resupply, maintaining a six-week inventory. Intelligent central-storage cabinetry and delivery tubs take up much less space than you might imagine; my eight-room practice does all this in under nine linear feet. More importantly, consolidating supplies allows you to store materials where you actually need them: at the point of use.

2. Expand function, not footprint. It’s critical that rooms be as flexible as possible, but where space is limited, redundancy makes no sense. While basic supply tubs handle materials in all rooms, use rapid-deployment carts to deliver special equipment (air abrasion, endodontics, surgery, sedation) to any room without duplicating expensive or bulky equipment.

3. Maximize the space you have. Rooms generate revenue, and more rooms equal more revenue. For a space-constrained practice to achieve exceptional production, it has to be exceptionally design-efficient.

Consolidation and better equipment design mean our typical rooms provide increased functionality in 15 to 30 percent less space. Though smaller, these operatories feel more spacious. Removing clutter and taking intimidating clinical equipment out of the
patient’s immediate field of view creates a more welcoming atmosphere.

But let’s take this a step further and discuss the constraints of urban practices. Enter “Small Room Solutions.” SRS rooms provide great functionality without sacrificing comfort in as little as 48 square feet — nearly 60 percent smaller than traditional rooms. Where a practice once fit four inefficient rooms, you can now have almost twice that number, all with improved productivity and expanded functionality.

For more information about Design Ergonomics and Small Room Solutions, please call 800-275-2547 or visit

To see how three practitioners built or reconfigured their practices, all under 2,000 square feet, into models of efficiency, visit: