Dr. Poojan Rai

Charlotte, NC

The Search for Zen Comfort

In her search for Zen Comfort, Dr. Poojan Rai turned to Pelton & Crane equipment to evoke peace, comfort and serenity for her patients.

To say her previous practice wasn’t working would be an understatement. The 3-operatory clinic in an older three-story building was located on the top floor. This proved especially challenging for the elderly patients; so challenging, in fact, that the previous dentists used to carry certain patients up the stairs.

“We had such great clientele that we knew we owed it to them and to ourselves to find a new location better suited to their needs and ours,” said Dr. Poojan Rai. “We’d found the location we thought would work, and started the conversation about what kind of equipment we wanted. I wanted a design that would make patients feel like they were at home, something comfortable, but also zen.”

She looked at magazines and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, but kept coming back to a central image: a fireplace.

“The fireplace is what makes me feel comfortable in my own home, so I knew I wanted one in the waiting area,” she said. “Another aspect that helps create that feeling is color. For example, the purple we chose for our operatory chairs — and we get compliments all the time — is based on the color in a room of my husband’s cousin’s house. Every time he was in that space, the color relaxed him, so we wanted that for the practice.”

In researching who could help make this zen comfort concept work, Dr. Rai chose Pelton & Crane, initially because of cost, believing that it wasn’t as pricey as other companies, but delivering higher quality. The real value of the Pelton relationship came later, when her Henry Schein rep suggested that Dr. Rai and her husband, Vijay, attend a Driven to Excellence seminar at the Pelton & Crane facility in Charlotte, NC.

“It was such an eye-opener. Seriously – we had decided how much space we wanted before the trip, then called our lawyer from the course and asked to expand the space even more,” she remembered with a laugh. “We plumbed for six operatories and made each a little bigger than we’d originally planned, and two years down the road, I’m so glad we did. It completely changes the feel of the practice. The open concept reflects the type of relationship we want to have with patients — space so that people can talk to one another easier. We still have a couple of private operatories for patients who want that, but generally the entire space feels less confined.”

In addition to helping rethink space, the course also helped underscore the value of ergonomics and a long-term vision for the natural growth of the practice.

“It gave us the resources to think about what kind of practice we wanted to be working in for the length of our career,” Dr. Rai said.

Since opening in the new location, patients are thrilled and business is bustling.

“As soon as people walk into the practice, they feel comfortable, at home and are amazed by how beautiful it is. More importantly, they feel like they’re getting excellent care. We selected massage chairs for the operatories and that extra bit of luxury really makes a difference; we get so many compliments,” Dr. Rai explained. “The design is just one of the things drawing people in. The location — on the corner of the highway, next door to a medical clinic — also helps. And while our area is still primarily a retirement community, we’re starting to draw in more children as well as referrals from the clinic. We’re seeing so many new patients that I now have an associate working with me.”

Looking back on the process, Dr. Rai feels like the support team anticipated and addressed all her needs.

“There is nothing I wish I would have chosen instead,” she said. “Everything is working out very well.”