WHEN A 33-YEAR-OLD Denver group practice founded by Dr. Marc Reissner and led since 2000 by Dr. Alan Pomeranz  joined forces five years ago with Dr. Emilio Arguello, a perio educator at Harvard, the future of Altura Periodontics became clear.                  

“Emilio had the vision — the bigger picture of the practice and a teaching facility together,” says Dr. Pomeranz.                                            

Dr. Pomeranz and Dr. Arguello partnered with Denver archit­ect Matt Piper to help implement that vision, a process that began with searching for an existing space, within a two-mile radius of their existing patient base, into which they could expand.                            

“Opportunities to do a new build-out in Denver are few and far between,” Dr. Arguello says. They found a 10,000-square-foot single-story space that was the former home  of both the Metropolitan Dental Society and the Colorado Dental Association, electing to  leave the shell of the building intact while renovating the interior in its entirety.

 The repurpose, while thorough, required only about six months and was  completed in May 2014. One major addition: sparkling new equipment throughout,   including Pelton & Crane chairs and cabinets, Biolase lasers and a CT scanner from   Vatech and all attendant digital technology.                                            

The office’s successful visual aesthetics and workflow, Dr. Arguello says, are the result of three factors: separate entrances, proper allocation of space . . . and glass. “More than walls and partitions, the practice features glass partitions,” he says. “The advantage: It’s a modern environment that gives you privacy from noise but is not completely private, so patients don’t feel encapsulated in one environment or claustrophobic.”

The creative layout helps — Piper and the doctors designed it so that distinct aspects of the practice would be independent from one another. Thus patients showing up for standard dental procedures will  enter one door to the practice’s interior, while those showing up for surgery enter elsewhere. The resulting flow is practical and convenient for patients and doctors alike.

“It makes us feel comfortable,” Dr. Arguello says. “After all, we spend most of our time here. [The repurpose] has changed our attitude toward life and toward our patients. It’s an environment conducive for staff and doctors to feel more empowered.”

                                                             Altura Periodontics’ Tips for a Repurposed Practice                                           

1. MAKE SURE YOUR QUESTIONS GET ANSWERED. “What do I expect from this office?” Dr. Arguello says. “What’s important to me as a doctor? What’s important to a staff? What do I want to project for my patients?”

2. WHATEVER YOU THINK YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO, YOU’RE WRONG. “It was quite an undertaking, and at times it was overwhelming,” Dr. Pomeranz says.“Be prepared for the transition.”

3. FIND THE RIGHT DESIGN PARTNER. “Interview different people and share your vision with them,” Dr. Arguello says. “See which one can capture it the best.”