The office of Joseph L Rumfola is located in Springville, a rural village of about 4,500 people located South of Buffalo, in Western New York. It's the hometown of Dr. Rumfola, his father, his grandfather and his father. They were all farmers. Growing up in a family of farmers has an impact on your morals, work ethic, dedication and yes, practice philosophy and office design decisions.
The design of the new facility blends dental precision with our farm country surroundings. Our practice slogan is "Combining uptown excellence with small town service", with a mission to make a difference in people’s lives, by providing dentistry at the highest standard of care in a personalized, private environment. Our team offers family hospitality in the comfort of our practice home infused with personal décor and barn board accents, fresh homegrown flowers, warm hues and friendly conversation.
The new building is for our community, they are the target market (our friends, family, former teachers, neighbors, and their kids). Reputation is our only source of patient referrals. We maintain an old-fashioned practice that started from scratch with the help of family, disciplined decision-making, and do-it-yourself mentality. The office is run as a fee-for-service model and prioritizes quality and affordability in an ever increasing insurance and business driven profession. We always knew the people of Springville deserved a dental office that balances modern advances, professional service as well as a hometown feel, and now they have it.
Design Criteria: Design Summary
Design Criteria: Dental Technology
The practice of Joseph L Rumfola, DDS strives to blend technology with the overall hometown, rustic feel of the office. Patients love the opportunity to relax and appreciate the view in front of them. Therefore, there are no TVs in the office. New iPads are utilized to access patient records minimizing the visual distraction of technology. Keeping the focus on their comfort, patients have access to wi-fi and Apple Music through the HomePod speakers located in each room..
The modular factory used to construct the building, provided just that- a building, not a dental office. This allowed us to put personal effort into each and every element, while minimizing the flash of modern technology. Fortunately, a friend with a background as a contractor and dental repair technician was able to help appropriately outfit the building including running the wiring and plumbing related to dentistry, as well as creating custom barn door cabinetry to stow x-ray units. The rooms are large enough to bring portable technology into them, keeping them open and comfortable but also well suited for future upgrades. There is a high-tech storage area out of patient view, currently used for “The Wand,” a diode laser, implant surgery equipment, and endo instrumentation. Electric handpieces, intraoral cameras, a third x-ray unit and rotary endo were all added with the move. The building was designed with a central x-ray and server area with ethernet in each operatory. The patients continue to receive top of the line care with strategically placed and streamlined technology in the new building. Future plans include adding EMR, optical scanning, and CBCT to further enhance our state of the art care.
Design Criteria: Dental Equipment
I knew from my first day in practice that I would eventually move into my own facility. I’m a do-it-yourselfer and a planner. I think Patterson, Schein and Benco felt left out since I made the move without significant input from any of them. However, I did attend Benco’s Centerpoint Experience and received recommendations regarding the floor plan and reflected ceiling design.
Upgrading had been occurring since the purchase of an existing practice with dated equipment. All equipment from the former building was transitioned to the new site. The bulk of cabinetry outfitting the new office was purchased 6 years prior at a bankruptcy auction ($1500 for 6 rooms worth of Dental EZ cabinets) and finally moved out my parents’ basement. The only significant new equipment purchase was the sterilization center acquired through Benco. It has been an eye catcher to patients and has increased efficiency and organization of the process.
Our digital PAN was relocated from the old office next door to the new one, by the moving crew (my brother-in-law, two friends of mine, and a patient). ADEC chairs were acquired through government liquidation auctions, or from my friend who deals with used equipment. He was also able to provide stools, overhead lighting, a backup compressor, and an x-ray unit.
My next large investment will be to outfit the 6th operatory with a chair, delivery and assistant’s arm. I will eventually re-upholster chairs to all match and replace the old Royal chair in hygiene room 1.
Design Criteria: Ergonomics
The new office was designed specifically for dentistry from the ground up, as opposed to outfitting an existing space, so there are many aspects that make tasks easier to perform. The building features a full basement with easy access to the mechanical area. Operatory control units are mounted to the basement ceiling, rather than under the front of the chair to provide a cleaner look and more space in the treatment rooms for maneuverability. The hallways are wide, and treatment rooms are large enough to allow for care of wheelchair bound patients and use of portable technology.
The office is clearly delineated with public space (reception area, patient bathroom), private space (business area, private offices, staff lounge), and treatment space, with sufficient room between each of them. Sterilization is the most trafficked area in the office, so it was placed centrally with respect to all six operatories. The receptionist is highly visible to greet patients, but a sliding glass partition keeps business and personal conversations private. Each area has the appropriate type and output of lighting to maximize vision without undue eyestrain.
The reception area and doctor's offices are equipped with Herman Miller Aeron chairs designed for their ergonomic excellence. Dental stools are primarily Adec, as are the patient chairs. The thin-backed Adec 500 chair is used most frequently to allow for close positioning of the patient and corresponding correct operator posture. Future chair purchases are likely to be of similar design or Pelton & Crane's narrow-backed chairs, for the same reasons. The operatories feature 12 o'clock cabinetry as well as bilateral side countertops to minimize repetitive potentially damaging motion.
The layout of the new office is of mutual benefit to patients and staff and was designed from the start to maximize comfort and efficiency for all. A significant amount of dentistry is now accomplished in the most ideal setting.
Design Criteria: Aesthetics
Dental offices seen on TV or in magazines generally wouldn’t fit in rural Springville. Not to mention, if I spent a million dollars or looked like I had, it might not go over well in a town with an average combined income below 50K. With this in mind, we wanted to provide a new facility that our community could relate to and be comfortable in that matched the quality treatment that has always been our priority.
Modular was the only option for our desired location. Due to size and architectural restrictions, the original idea of being the 4th generation Rumfola to work from a barn with a gable style roof was no longer possible. Although the effort my family, staff and I put into preparing the building felt like old- fashioned farm work, the plan was reworked into a reception room addition, exterior stone, and interior barn wood. The original photography, other accents and earthy tones within the office are generally barn themed as well. Patients and staff have expressed appreciation of the personal effort, mindfulness, and physical investment we contributed to creating their new dental home.
Acoustic issues were addressed by spacing treatment areas away from the business area, having private consult areas, utilizing pocket doors on the lab and private offices, and adding HomePod speakers to the reception and treatment areas. Additional interior aesthetic improvements included stone under the reception counter, concrete countertops (one with a yo-yo inlaid to reflect my past career as a professional demonstrator) and barn wood trim, accents and furnishings.
Design Advice: Dental Technology
Modular is potentially a great way to build. The building was made in 5 days in a climate controlled environment. This type of construction may limit total freedom in design, but there are no additional expenditures for architects and engineers and there are still many building options.. The factory can do custom cabinetry, countertops of any length and width, and once the building is on-site it can be put together pretty quickly.
It isn't necessary to buy everything that dental supply companies want to sell you, and it's possible to do some things on your own (or with help from family, friends and patients). It can be very rewarding when you give a tour of a top-notch facility to point out things you did on your own that ultimately save the patients money and earn their respect. A significant portion of my equipment and cabinetry was previously owned but still looks great in the new facility.
Use people that you know and trust. I used friends and patients for many of the elements inside the building, so I was able to save money and trust that the work was done well. In a small town, reputation is as important to a contractor as it is to a dentist.
Contingency in the mortgage is a must. Things will go wrong, and elements will be over budget. There will be changes necessary that no one thought of ahead of time. Have fun with it and embrace it, because building is something most dentists don't have the opportunity to do.
Building has been my best career move to date. I went from being in an office that many people didn’t know existed and getting ~4-5 new patients a month to everyone in town knowing where I’m located and getting ~30 new patients per month. I have a top notch facility and everyone loves it, even the supply reps who wish I would have used them more.