Dr. Chris Hansen, owner of Two Rivers Family Dental, is a small-town dentist who wants his 11,000-person northeastern Wisconsin community to have access to quality dental care for a long time to come.
Three of his local colleagues have retired in recent years. These transitions allowed Dr. Hansen to grow his practice by acquiring real estate, dental equipment and new patients, but he was also disappointed that newer dentists weren’t coming to take the retirees’ place in town. In early 2019, as he and his team worked out of two small buildings with outdated features and poor parking space, he was ready to act on an idea – to create a spacious, modern dental office that would not only mean a better future for his practice and patients, but also for Two Rivers.
“We need to attract younger practitioners to the area,” said Dr. Hansen, who is also a Region 2 WDA Trustee. “The best way to do that is to have a new, modern facility that utilizes most of the technology they’re accustomed to or desire to use in their offices.”
Dr. Hansen reached out to Richard Wilde, owner of Preferred Dental Services of Denmark, Wis., the power behind the WDA Equipment Solutions members-only group buying program. The two had worked together for years, and Dr. Hansen sought Wilde’s advice whenever he bought a building or a piece of equipment. Together with WDA Equipment Solutions expert Paul Phelps and general contractor ACE Construction, they developed a plan to add a 2,500-square-foot expansion to Two Rivers Family Dental’s most functional building (more than doubling its size), incorporate as much of Dr. Hansen’s existing equipment as possible and completely upgrade the technology.
“Richard was a really good person to work with in that he knew the market and maximized our budget,” Dr. Hansen said. “And Paul had a great understanding of the equipment we already had – what we could do, what could be adapted, and how we could make wise decisions about new equipment purchases. It makes a difference that WDA Equipment Solutions is an independent company. I had a team of experts with my best interests in mind. If I’d worked with one of the big suppliers, I would have had to get all new equipment, and that really would have been a much bigger price tag.”
The project broke ground in October 2019, and it was complicated.
The team custom-designed operatory and office layouts around existing equipment and cabinetry Dr. Hansen had spread across his two offices and a storage unit. Wilde and Phelps guided the builder in placing utilities, windows and other building features. They choreographed the careful move-in and installation of all equipment – including adding a new Vatech Cone Beam 3-D X-ray, reusing existing digital imaging and impression equipment – and testing every equipment item to make sure it was operating at the highest level.
“It was a feat of amazing planning,” Dr. Hansen said. “They had everything staged, a phased plan and location for every single item, and they worked very well with the general contractor.”
Construction took six months (Dr. Hansen and team worked out of the other office during much of that time), and the renovated building opened for business on March 16, 2020. The very next day, as fate would have it, the emerging COVID-19 pandemic prompted the American Dental Association and WDA to recommend dental offices close to non-emergency care. Gov. Evers’ first “Safer at Home” order soon followed, and the beautiful new dental office remained essentially closed until mid-May.
It wasn’t the grand opening Dr. Hansen had planned, but there were some positives. Dr. Hansen was able to sell the dental equipment he didn’t use in the remodel (he says Richard and WDA Equipment Solutions were a big help there, too). Additionally, the renovation allowed for important COVID-19 safety precautions – including installation of high-volume, extraoral vacuums to reduce aerosols. Putting in that kind of equipment would not have been possible in the old offices, he said, and patients are impressed.
“The COVID-19 situation was very unfortunate, but in a sense, it allowed us the opportunity to show patients the upgrades we’ve made,” he said. “Reaction has been very favorable.” Staff love the new space, too.
“They love the way it’s spread out, and how there’s a lot more room,” he said. “It flows much better. We have eight total treatment rooms – four hygiene rooms and four operative rooms shared between two dentists. There’s a nice front desk area, a staff lounge, a beautiful reception area. Our staff really enjoy the space, the light. It’s a much better working environment.”
Dr. Jamie Meunier, a recent graduate and native of the lakeshore area, joined the practice in 2018 and helped with the design and selection of equipment and updated technology in the new office. “Being able to work in a beautiful, inviting, and safe environment encourages you to operate efficiently and to focus on what is truly important—our patients,” she said.
With the new office open, Dr. Hansen’s vision of drawing new dental professionals to his small town is starting to be realized. Two Rivers Family Dental has added two dental assistants and a part-time dental hygienist since May. And with the possibility of adding another dentist in the future, he has his eye on continued growth.
To find out what WDA Equipment Solutions can do for your practice, call 888-213-7300 for a free consultation.