YOU COULD SAY that Dr. Sabiha Bunek is something of an overachiever. A member of the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 in 2013 and the winner of this year’s Clinical Expertise Lucy Hobbs Award, she now hits the trifecta with her Design Competition triumph. (Perhaps an Edison Award nomination is in the offing for 2020?)

The Ann Arbor, Michigan, native, now 40, is also CEO and editor in chief of The Dental Advisor. She’s a sought-after lecturer both nationally and worldwide. She and her husband are raising two small children. And now she has this beautiful space in which to practice dentistry. (Which includes, thoughtfully, a cozy loft, reached by ladder, for her kids to play in.)

In under six months, she devised the aesthetic parameters for the 2,500-square-foot space and had it thoroughly renovated for $550,000. Major bonus: It’s across the street from the Big House, as the University of Michigan’s football stadium is affectionately known. (Dr. Bunek, a UM grad, is a passionate Wolverines fan.)

“I knew I wanted my practice to represent all the things that differentiate me and my practice philosophy,” she says. She started with the name: Bunek Dental Studio. “I didn’t want patients to feel like they were going to a typical dental office, but rather a studio where the art of high-quality dentistry is practiced with the finest materials and utmost care.”

It all starts right inside the front door, where visitors are greeted by a “comforting color scheme” of grays augmented by pops of maize and blue—which any enthusiastic Michigan partisan will identify immediately as the school colors. The operatories are flooded with natural light, which Dr. Bunek augmented with careful selection of LEDs for different areas of the space. Sonically, meanwhile, she went counterintuitive. “While most dental offices are designed to be closed in, with very private treatment rooms, I went the opposite direction,” she says. “The space is open and embraces sound and noise in a way that you’ll hear laughter and movement but can’t hear private conversations.”

Bunek Dental Studio opened this past Hallo-ween, smack in the middle of college football season. “Patients are always commenting on the views of the stadium—there’s something euphoric about being so close to it.”

There’s something euphoric about all of it, in fact. “I love going to my office every day knowing I was involved with the design of every square inch of the place,” Dr. Bunek says. “The lighting, cleanliness and organization provide a calming effect that I really value. It was so important to me that patients and the team feel like they’re in an environment where they feel safe, loved and well-cared-for.” •

“Whatever you see can be changed; whatever existed was someone else’s vision. You have to really embrace your vision of your patients, your team and yourself walking through that door. What do you want them to experience?”