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Dental Office Design: What’s on a Countertop?

When working on the design of your dental office, one of the details that needs attention is the type of countertops that will be used in various applications. There are countertops in every dental office design, and while different countertops can be coordinated, they certainly don’t have to be made of the same materials. There are several considerations that go into selecting the countertop material to use, such as location, customer visibility, humidity levels, and price.

In damp areas, such as a lab or sterilization room, I generally recommend using a solid surface material like Corian®, as laminates can often have seams that don’t tolerate moisture well. However, in these same rooms, if there really isn’t going to be a lot of humidity, a plastic laminate will work well and save cost.

In staff break rooms, I typically recommend plastic laminates, as patients rarely visit these rooms and you can save on the cost of a solid surface material. It’s not that I’m suggesting that staff is less important, but I think to get the greatest return on investment one should spend design dollars where patients can see the difference.

Now, if there is a possibility of extreme heat exposure on the countertop, I only recommend granite. Of all the countertop material options, granite is the most indestructible and the most heat resistant. One can put an extremely hot skillet or griddle directly on the counter and never have a problem. The same cannot be said of any other material.

In public spaces, such as guest bathrooms, operating rooms, and especially the front desk, I recommend moving to something other than plastic laminate. Solid surfaces, whether made of a material such as Corian®, concrete, quartz or natural stone, give the impression of quality that plastic laminates simply cannot achieve. So, to better communicate strength and quality in your dental practice, it’s important to spend extra dollars on a countertop made from one of these other materials. The old saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” To cement the quality of your practice in the minds of your patients and prospective patients, you want your reception desk to make a good impression.

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