When working on the design of your dental office, one of the details that needs attention is the type of countertops to be used in various applications. There are countertops throughout a dental office design, and while the various countertops can be coordinated, they certainly don’t have to be made from 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 humid areas, such as a laboratory or sterilization room, I normally recommend using a solid surface material such as Corian®, as laminates can often have seams that do not tolerate high humidity well. In these same rooms, however, if there is really not going to be a lot of humidity, a plastic laminate will work well and save costs.
In staff rooms, I usually recommend plastic laminates, as these rooms are rarely visited by patients and you can save on the cost of a solid surface material. Not that I’m suggesting that staff is less important, but I think that to get the highest return on investment, one should spend money on design where patients can see the difference.
Now if there is the possibility of extreme heat exposure to 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 for any other material.
In public spaces, like the clients’ bathroom, operating rooms, and especially the entrance counter, I recommend doing something other than plastic laminate. Solid surfaces, whether made of Corian® material, concrete, quartz or natural stone, give the impression of a quality that plastic laminates simply cannot offer. Therefore, to better communicate robustness and quality in your dental practice, it is important to spend the 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 solidify the quality of your practice in the minds of your patients and potential patients, you want the reception desk to make a good impression.