Written by Joseph Allbeury from the Australasian Dental Practice magazine – March / April 2019 edition.
Now more than ever, establishing a new dental practice must focus on three key factors: Location, location and location! Husband and wife dentists, Dr Amrinder Thind and Dr Tina Dhamija, ticked those boxes well when they opted to set-up Toothsavers Dentists at the Mount Annan Marketplace five years ago. Mount Annan is located 60 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD and is a growing area with many young families.
“We started Toothsavers from scratch in August 2014,” Dr Thind said, “and we chose this location purely by researching where it would be best to set up. We had some people helping us and one suggested Mount Annan, as they lived nearby. So we came here and we loved the place and not only decided to start a practice here, but we also moved to the area. We felt it was an ideal place to both raise a family and also achieve success professionally. “We leased a shop within the Mount Annan Marketplace and then we worked with Perfect Practice to design and build the practice.
“We briefed Perfect Practice that we wanted to have a practice with two dental surgeries, sterilisation area, reception and an area for our staff. We met with Peter Arnot and he took us through the entire process. He was very meticulous with every detail; why certain materials are used in each area, the orientation of the rooms and how the practice should flow.
“We worked together to design the practice and to choose colours and fabrics and they then showed us how it would all look with 3D computer renderings. Once we finalised the design, we basically gave them the keys to an empty space and when they returned the keys, there was a new clinic inside. They dealt with the equipment installers, organised all the plumbing, electrical and radiation safety and they worked with the centre management to ensure the practice met their requirements and specifications.
“It was like a dream come true! We were very happy with the process and the completed practice.”
Fast forward four years and the dream of opening their first practice had indeed transcended into professional success. And with that success, came the need to expand.
“The local community has really supported us from the beginning and after a couple of years, it became apparent that we needed more chairs,” Dr Thind said. “We were working with practice management consultants, Prime Practice, and they showed us, for example, that we really needed to add a hygiene department. A lot of our patients were booking hygiene appointments but with only two chairs, cleans were taking up a lot of the time that the dentists should have been using to concentrate on more complex treatments.
“So I began asking the management of the shopping complex if there was any more space available and the answer was always no. And then we got lucky. The shop next to us became available and we then had to make the big decision as to whether to actually take up the opportunity we could see and expand the practice. Prime Practice again helped us to make that decision and made us realise that it would help us look after our patients better, because some were actually going elsewhere because we couldn’t give them a suitable appointment time.” Dr Thind again called on Perfect Practice to find a solution to expand Toothsavers Dentists into the adjacent shopfront.
“Back in 2014, there was never any intention to expand when we initially built the practice,” Dr Thind said. “So we again called on Perfect Practice to come up with a solution. We wanted to add another three dental surgeries in the new space and also increase the size of the sterilisation area to cope with the additional workload.
“Their design team were able to come up with a solution whereby you now cannot tell that the practice started out half the size.
“Rather than just add three chairs to a 2-chair practice, Perfect Practice were able to create a 5-chair practice with an optimal workflow and plenty of capacity in sterilisation, patient management and also to accommodate our larger team.
“They did an excellent job and were again able to work to a set budget and a set timeline and comply with all the requirements of the management of Mount Annan Marketplace. As dentists, it takes a lot of pressure off when you work with other professionals who completely understand dentistry and Perfect Practice make it a simple process.”
Apart from a vibrant design, the practice also features start-of-the-art equipment throughout, principally supplied by Dentsply Sirona.
“I was very lucky to meet Manuel Netto from Dentsply Sirona early in the process of setting up the practice,” Dr Thind said. “I met Manuel at ADX and he showed me through everything we needed without any rush or pressure to buy. That actually made me trust them a lot. Then I went to their Education Centre in St Leonards and we went through all the equipment in great detail. It is an amazing facility and you can see all the equipment set-up as if it was in your own clinic.
“At that time, I was thinking that you can use any software and use it with any x-ray and any chair and everything would just work, but then when I went into it, it changed my perspective altogether that. We wanted everything to be integrated and work together perfectly together and Dentsply Sirona had that solution, backed up with strong service and support.
“The Dentsply Sirona equipment also looks great and patients comment about the high level of comfort, which is equally important.
“I also loved the CEREC system, because we were looking for a digital dentistry solution as well. We bought CEREC for that reason so we could offer single visit crowns. And since having the system, I’ve now started doing a lot of inlays and onlays because these are more conservative treatment options.”
Apart from treatment centres and CEREC, the practice also has an Orthophos panoramic x-ray system. “The new additional to the practice opened in May 2018 and since then, we have been growing constantly. We’re very happy with the design and workflow of the larger practice and Perfect Practice again proved that they could deliver on their promise. I would not be shy recommending them to other dentists because they know what they’re doing.
“We were a team of three dentists, but now we’re recruiting two more dentists so my wife has time to focus on a 3-year program in orthodontics she is completing and I can learn more about dental implants. So we will have five dentists and two hygienists at our 5-chair practice and our patients couldn’t be happier.”[ssba]