Chicago Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Paving The Way Towards a New Approach With Oral Surgery

Dr. Steven Koos looks out of the window of his Chicago oral and maxillofacial surgery practice he opened in 2008 and sees change on the horizon.

“As both a physician and dentist, I want to bridge the gap in the dental industry,” says Dr. Koos, director of ORA Oral Surgery and Implant Studio ( and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who holds both dental and medical degrees. “We are at the forefront of a major paradigm shift in healthcare, and I hope to help transform the dental industry.”

Part of that paradigm shift comes from not only Dr. Koos’ views on medical-dental collaboration, but also on the importance of practicing eco-friendly dentistry®TM and showing off the sterilization area to his patients. He explains his views in the interview below.

1. When you were planning your office design, what were the things that were important to you?
Creating a distinctly unique experience in order to change the perception and stereotype of the typical dental and medical visit. We successfully accomplished this by infusing sustainability, incorporating evidence-based design (EBD), and laying down the foundation for eco-friendly dentistry®TM. We wanted to ensure a comfortable, non-toxic environment for patients and our team in order to deliver the safest and most effective healthcare possible.

2. What is the main feeling you want your patients to get when they walk through your doors?
An atmosphere that is modern, tranquil, and inviting. I wanted a feeling of relaxation and warmth despite being surrounded by state-of-the-art medical and surgical equipment and areas of sterility.

3. You are very proud to have the world’s first and only “green” oral surgery practice. Why is that important to you?
The concept of green healthcare has been adopted for some time now within medicine and hospitals throughout the country. As a physician and dentist, I felt that it was important to champion these principals and carry them into the private practice sector. In the dental community, sustainable practices were essentially non-existent. This is why I felt it was important to both define and trademark the term “eco-friendly dentistry®TM” as well as promote sustainable outpatient care.

4. What are some “green” tips you could pass along to your colleagues?
There needs to be a paradigm shift within the standard practice of your office with design, purchasing, processing, sterilization, bio-hazardous waste elimination, and patient care. A “culture change” and commitment from the doctor and management are necessary in order to truly implement sustainability. The journey towards significant carbon footprint reduction does not need to be daunting — create a green team, set incremental goals, and enjoy the process!

5. Your sterilization area is in a prime location. Why did you feel it was important to have it so visible?
Infection control, sterility, and cleanliness are top priorities to patients. Every office that I have ever seen essentially hides their sterilization area behind doors and in an area of the office that is not a common walkway. I wanted to turn that concept completely around when designing my facility. We prominently feature our central sterilization area within our main patient hallway in a chic and stylish way, so that patients immediately recognize this. Utilization of Hu-Friedy infection control products, along with their efficient surgical/procedural cassettes, streamline sterilization, increase efficiency, and reduce waste.

6. How do you feel the look of an office plays a role in the patient’s acceptance of the dentist and his or her treatment? Or does it?
It is absolutely crucial in a patient’s decision-making process nowadays. Patients have a plethora of choices, either fee-for-service offices or insurance-based offices, particularly in an urban environment. First impressions are critical and the quality of a facility and its equipment are an integral factor in new patient acquisition and acceptance of treatment planning. Representation of this online is paramount as well, because this is where most patients develop their first impressions and make initial choices. Your practice has to shine and stand out. A good analogy would be to take an ordinary watercolor painting and professionally mat it and frame it. Suddenly this piece has become more impactful, presentational, attractive, and of “museum quality.”

7. What is one piece of advice you would pass along to your colleagues who were looking to redesign their practice?
Clear benchmarks have been set forth via the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), specifically with their LEED for Health Care guidelines. Practice Greenhealth and the Eco-Dentistry Association (EDA) are also wonderful resources to utilize and organize your efforts. They provide a useful template to streamline the process and even offer certification. Additionally, align yourself with companies like Sharps Compliance and Hu-Friedy. These are companies that have engrained sustainability within their company and product offerings.

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