Feel at home

Specialist orthodontist Gavin caves now has a space he can call his own after moving into his brand new practice conversion

31 July, 2015 / featured
 Bruce Oxley  

After 15 years as a specialist orthodontist, Gavin Caves has now moved into his brand new state-of-the-art practice conversion of a traditional sandstone property (c1900), right in the centre of Haddington.

Gavin qualified from Edinburgh in 1993, obtaining the class prize in orthodontics, and after a year of house jobs at the Edinburgh Dental hospital he worked for two years as a maxillofacial senior house officer, initially at the City Hospital in Edinburgh and then at the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline. He then undertook his VDP year at the dental practice at Southfield Loan in Edinburgh.

In 1997, Gavin was accepted onto the three-year post-graduate specialist orthodontic programme at the Glasgow Dental Hospital – qualifying in 2000 with a Membership in Orthodontics (MOrth) from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and an MSc from the University of Glasgow.

Gavin then spent eight years working as an associate at Scottish Orthodontics while also teaching the orthodontic postgraduates at the Edinburgh Dental Institute. In 2008 he left Scottish Orthodontics and moved to Edinburgh Orthodontics, but still kept up the clinical teaching at the EDI.

In 2010, at the “tender age of 39”, a vision was born in Gavin’s mind of one day finally having his own small and friendly practice. He began by looking around to pinpoint an area that was underserved by a specialist orthodontist service and he soon zeroed in on the historic East Lothian town of Haddington.

It just so happened that a new NHS practice with an OPG machine had opened a few months earlier in the town, and so Gavin approached Ali Bilgrami, the practice owner, to discuss using one of his surgeries as a starting point.

On 7 October, 2010, Gavin Caves Orthodontics was born – the same day as his daughter’s birthday, hence always remembered! (Hannah is now coming up for 10).

As referrals increased and word of mouth spread, Gavin gradually grew his business in Haddington and he finally left Edinburgh Orthodontics in January 2014, going full time in his new practice.

The dream had always been to have his own building but the problem he encountered was that there were precious few available buildings in the town and those that were available often weren’t suitable for a dental practice – either small shop fronts or huge ex-council buildings.

However, Gavin was alerted to a former council building that had come onto the market in late 2013 and he went to have a look. Unfortunately, the space was just too big for what he needed, not to mention flats above which he had no interest in acquiring. Despite its size, Gavin knew there was potential there as it was in a great location. So, he asked the council to let him know who bought the building on the off chance that they might be interested in leasing or selling part of the premises to him in the future.

In early 2014, Gavin was put in contact with the buyer who was in the process of setting up a new soft play centre in the building and was interested in selling part of the unit to him. New walls were built to partition off the new space and title deeds were drawn up.

It took until September 2014 before the sale of Gavin’s part of the premises went through due to issues with separating the space and getting all the services, such as water and electricity separated off into the new sections.

Gavin had been recommended SAS Shopfitters by colleagues and plans were already under way by the time he got the keys in September last year. Dereck Lang and his team at SAS were the main contractors at the new practice and undertook all the work from the flooring and electrics through to the cabinets, seating and plumbing.

Initially the building was all open plan, with only had two internal walls, but SAS divided off the space to incorporate a reception and waiting room with staff quarters to the rear, including toilet, shower and locker room, two surgeries, office (which was plumbed and wired to be converted into a third surgery in the future) and LDU.

The branding and many of the ideas and inspiration for the colour scheme and materials came from Gavin’s friends Jane and Doug MacDowall, owners of teviotcreative.com It was Doug’s idea to have the wall feature in the waiting room, which Gavin admits has definitely grown on him.

The recessed ceiling lighting in the waiting room was a spark of inspiration from Dereck. Gavin explained that he was after a warm and welcoming feel to the practice to make his patients feel at ease and also to give him and his colleagues a nice environment to work in. He said: “SAS were fantastic and I’m really pleased with how it has turned out. Like most orthodontists, I am quite fastidious and I was eager to get it looking just right.

“SAS made the whole experience easy and they were on time and on budget, which was great. I couldn’t have asked for more.” The whole build took three months.

The surgeries have been kitted out with white corian surfaces and Belmont chairs with LED lights and handpieces by NSK. Throughout the whole practice there is wood-effect Karndean flooring, which gives the surgeries a warmer and less clinical feel.

In the LDU Gavin has installed a top-of-the-range washer disinfector and a W&H Lisa autoclave – which takes the water from the mains, distills it and then drains itself after each cycle – so the nurses never have to fill or empty it, much to their delight.

He also has an ultrasonic bath as a back up, although it spends its time being lent to dental colleagues in East Lothian whose washer disinfectors have broken down!

The reception area has a self check-in touch screen that has been a hit with the younger patients. If the reception is busy, patients can sign in and sit down without waiting.

Gavin is the only orthodontist at the practice and he sees every patient. To help manage the increasing number of patients, his former dental nurse Gemma Smith is currently training as an orthodontic therapist at the Edinburgh Dental Institute as well as in the practice. He also has three nurses: Claire Igoe, who also covers reception; Steph Gray and Emily Weir.

Asked if he would do it again, Gavin said: “Well, hopefully I won’t have to do it again! But it has been a great experience. It was really exciting seeing it all come together and I am just delighted with the outcome.

“It’s just great to finally have my own practice in my own building and we feel really at home already. The patient’s love it as well and I hope that I can continue to provide a great orthodontic service for my patients and colleagues for many years to come.”

Tags: Edinburgh / Gavin Cave / Move / Orthodontist / Practice / State-of-the-art / Surgery

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