In a recent survey, Orthodontic Products asked our readers, "What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for your practice?" Here’s this week’s featured answer, from Howard A. Fine, DMD, MMSc, Mount Kisco and Goldens Bridge, NY:

"The best thing I ever did for the practice was to open a small satellite office. After a few years in practice, many more practitioners started to open offices in or around the town where my main office was. I saw the potential for growth a few towns north. In that community, the patients had to travel to the main hub to get services. By placing myself in that town, I was able to offer services closer to home, which grew the practice.

But the best part of the situation was how it was constructed. I teamed up with a group of general dentists in the area. We took a rectangular space and cut it up so that my portion was 37% of the total. A wall was built between the offices so that the practices would be separate. However, we placed a door in the middle of the wall into a common lab, x-ray, and utility space. All plumbing and electrical for the dental units came out of this shared space and splayed laterally into both facilities, so that there would be no duplication of equipment. By sharing all these items, the cost of construction was minimal. Outside of dental equipment, the bill to fabricate a fully working, 100% digital, 1,000-square-foot orthodontic satellite was around $30,000 15 years ago. Plus, I had built-in referrers that no one knew were partners in the space. The office continues to be productive because the overhead costs are so low."

To read more orthodontists’ answers to this question, click here.