Anna Olczak, principal dentist at ‘tooth’, explains how she created the Waterloo practice.
The Ethos of the Practice
tooth is all about making dentistry different – offering exceptional dentistry at affordable prices with extended opening hours to suit our busy patients’ needs. We’re about clear, honest and open pricing, coupled with exceptional patient care and customer service. We believe in going the extra mile for our patients.
We started our first tooth in 2004 as a squat practice and gradually built up the practice from one chair to three. Our team grew from one Principal Dentist to a full team offering a range of dental and hygiene treatments, including oral surgery, implants, endodontics, orthodontics and more.
Word of mouth about our treatments and service spread and we soon found that it was hard to keep up with demand. Everyone was recommending us to their families and friends, and people were travelling from outside our area to come and see us. This coupled with our awards and reviews made us quite popular!
Over the years we did everything we could to offer more appointment availability, adding an extra chair, extending our working hours, and building our team. But ultimately, we wanted a scanning centre and separate consultation room, and we knew we needed more space.
Our second practice needed to be very close to our existing practice. Due to lockdown, a large retail unit came up on the same street (a former well-known specialist bookshop which had ceased trading after 30 years). We viewed the property which hadn’t been modernised for many years and was covered floor to ceiling with integrated bookshelves!
It took real imagination to visualise what we could do with it, but, at around 150sqm, we knew it had potential. Plus, it was just one minute away on the same side of the street as our current location in the heart of Waterloo. So, we made an offer, completed the paperwork and soon took ownership.
After tendering for a contractor, we opted for Apollo Interiors, a specialist company expert in dental fit outs.
We sourced most of the dental equipment from Hague, apart from some digital imaging equipment which was sourced from Dental Directory. We worked with the Apollo Interiors team to draw up plans in line with our vision for the practice layout and features, and Apollo also produced the service drawings.
The build took 3-4 months and started with a complete stripping out of the old bookshop. A full rebuild and refit followed, including flooring, ceilings, wiring, networks and security, internal partitioning and adjustments. It was a big project, but we knew we needed to get it exactly how we wanted, so that it would feel part of our growing tooth family.
What we created was a beautiful and spacious surgery with a natural flow and layout.
The practice is made up of five dental surgeries with A-Dec Chairs, a medical grade consultation room for facial aesthetics, a large LDU, a scanning room with OPG/CBCT scanner, and a good-sized office – all whilst maintaining a large open reception/waiting room area with lots of natural light.
Additionally, we created a lot of integrated storage and refurbished an existing staff area to create an inviting and relaxing kitchenette and break area for our amazing team. Vinyl lettering was added to each of the surgery walls to add that final ‘tooth touch’.
Interior design was done in house, keeping a clean and uncluttered look, with waiting room chairs sourced from our favourite British Designer, Hitch Mylius. We added a simple small artwork piece by artist Mark Pawson saying: ‘Bookshops Not Bombs’, as a nod to the building’s past as the famous bookshop for so many years.
Key features of the reception include the addition of a reclaimed brick wall, a low double operator desk for patient check-in and check-out and a stunning custom neon light feature saying: ‘your smile makes my heart melt’, located behind the reception desk.
The outside was painted in our grey, our brand colour, and we sourced and designed our own external signage which included a minimalist and modern projecting light box and some clean and crisp lettering.
As this was more of an extension to our existing clinic, we didn’t need to do a lot of new practice marketing like we did when we first opened. However, we created a variety of printed materials and online advertising, as well as updating and amending our website to make patients aware of this new location and the additional services now provided.
The result is a practice which is visually stunning and feels completely on brand. The team at Apollo helped deliver everything we were aiming for – the clinic has a great flow for patients and the team and achieves our goal of creating more appointment slots to better serve our patients and to create a separate specialist referral practice.
Our patients love the design and the feel of the practice, and our new Planmeca OPG/CBCT scanner is already being put to good use. The new practice at 46 Lower Marsh is now home to all our general dentistry, ortho and hygiene services, as well as our facial aesthetics treatments. Our original surgery at 26 Lower Marsh now serves as a specialist practice and accepts referrals for endo, oral surgery, and implants.
Article as featured in November 2021 Private Dentistry Magazine.
Architect/Surgery design – Apollo Interiors
Dental equipment – Hague Dental
Dental Directory – DD Group
Practice Management System – Systems for Dentists
Website developer – in house