Crafting a modern dental practice 

From design to technology and patient experience, Alan Clarke shares his strategies and insights for building a modern dental practice in 2024 and beyond.

So much change has occurred since I launched Paste Dental almost three years ago, and it is definitely a different industry to that which I entered as a clinic owner. As we move towards 2025 and beyond, the dental industry feels like it is moving forward at an unprecedented pace, and I find it so exciting! 

Patients’ expectations are changing, technology is accelerating and to be successful we must stay ahead of the curve. For many, this can feel overwhelming, with a fear of being ‘left behind’. 

Don’t lose hope. If you embrace change, it can spark creativity and ignite new-found passion within your business.  

In the words of Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd: ‘If you want to be good, do what they say you should, but if you want to be great, you innovate!’ With that in mind, here are some forward-thinking strategies to help you stay ahead in an ever-developing market. 

Embrace technology 

Dental technology is advancing rapidly, it’s time to embrace it. Your patients are quickly gaining knowledge of the market and are aware that a private level of care is now the accepted global standard. 

Things like Pearl AI for diagnosis through imaging, Chairsyde animations to promote patient consent, digital smile design and facial scanning are advances that you should consider incorporating. Don’t fear change! 

I am excited as to how we will bring spacial computing into the industry. This is something I will be an early adopter of at Paste Dental. I love looking forward to future technologies and embracing them, it makes my job so exciting! 

Focus on patient comfort 

A modern dental practice should prioritise patient comfort and create a relaxing environment. 

Consider upgrading your waiting room with comfortable seating, calming decor, and entertainment options like TVs and iPads. Free wifi is necessary too. Offering amenities like blankets, noise-cancelling headphones and sedation options to help ease anxiety really go a long way to show patients that you care and always have their best interests at heart. 

Listen to feedback about what people really want in your practice and act on it. 

Prioritise sustainability 

More and more consumers are choosing environmentally-conscious businesses. If you want to win favour it is becoming increasingly important to incorporate sustainability throughout your own business model. 

Choose eco-friendly materials and practices in your design and operations where possible, such as using low-VOC paints and finishes and LED lighting when refurbishing. Also, implementing recycling programmes and switching to more sustainable products and materials for your daily practice. Then celebrate your green credentials by telling patients your story and how you are conscious of your impact.  

Film everything  

Video is a prerequisite now. From your clinical work and patient testimonials to staff behind the scenes and your community activities, get comfortable filming as much content as possible. 

This can be used on your website and social media channels to help make your team human, show your practice as a space that people want to be in, display your treatments as ‘must-haves’ and build a real connection with new and existing patients. 

Nothing dispels fear more than a genuine rapport, which you can build through real footage. Remember, connection and trust will always win over any fad, style or aesthetic, so use video content to build respect and stay relevant in 2024 and beyond. 

My top tip is to remember that captions are king – they mean people can consume your content with and without sound. You’ll lose 50% of your audience if you don’t include captions! 

Personalise patient care 

Modern patients expect personalised care and communication. 

Implement technology like patient portals and communication apps to make it easier for patients to schedule appointments, access their health records and communicate with their dental team. 

Let’s start to redefine what the experience is from their terms, not yours. This does not mean being accessible 24/7 – you will need to create boundaries for yourself and the team in order to make the system sustainable. Instead, gather feedback from your patients to understand their needs and their lifestyles, and work out how you can use technology to fit into that. It’s time to innovate and change the status quo! 

Create a stand-out brand 

Developing an individual brand identity can help your practice stand out in a crowded market. What is your unique selling point (USP)? 

In 2024, this is so necessary to define. Consider your practice’s style, personality and target audience when crafting your branding strategy, and incorporate it into your office design, marketing materials and patient communications. 

Consistency is key. Once your brand is defined, weave it into everything you do – from the colours in your practice décor to staff uniforms. Think of little touches where you can be ‘on brand’. It’s the smallest things that are often the most memorable, as it shows your commitment to the fine details. 

Remember, the sky is the limit! Within two years, Paste Dental was featured in HELLO! and the New York Post. It just took a dedication to our brand and never giving up on the dream!  

Start with your ‘why?’

A key part of defining your brand is understanding your ‘why?’. Why did you go to work this morning? If you could work anywhere in the world and do anything, what would it be? Why did you decide to walk into your practice? What comes from that joy of helping? 

When you start with the big questions and really nail down your purpose, you often realise that your dental brand is an extension of yourself and your life – your values, motivators and the good you want to put out into the world. 

It’s your story. If you can communicate this to your team, your patients and the market, then you will thrive in 2024 and beyond.  

Invest in staff training 

Keeping your team up-to-date on the latest dental technology, techniques and patient care strategies is crucial to delivering exceptional care. Upskill and delegate, you have a wealth of talent under your roof, find out how best to use it. 

Start by asking each team member what they love or would like to get more involved in. You will find some hidden gems you didn’t even realise you had! Offer regular training and professional development opportunities to ensure your team is knowledgeable and skilled. 

I love this quote by Richard Branson: ‘Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.’ It’s a formula I use at Paste Dental, and I find it really effective. It means that I have a fantastic team, which makes me happy, but they also have an excellent work life, which makes them equally happy – it’s a win-win! 

Crafting a modern dental practice and brand requires a strategic approach that incorporates the latest technology, focuses on patient comfort and experience and emphasises your own brand, all underpinned by a truth that you are here to help people in the best way you can.

Money and financial rewards will follow if you hold firm to the principle that got you here in the first place. Finally, get your team on board, and I promise 2024 is going to be a great year! 

Eight key takeaways

Embrace technological advancements. Stay up-to-date with the latest dental technologies, such as AI diagnosis, digital smile design and facial scanning to meet evolving patient expectations and maintain competitiveness

Prioritise patient comfort and experience. Create a comfortable and relaxing environment for patients by upgrading waiting areas, offering amenities like blankets and entertainment options and listening to patient feedback to continuously improve services

Incorporate sustainability: Integrate eco-friendly practices and materials into your dental practice to appeal to environmentally-conscious consumers. Don’t forget to communicate your commitment to sustainability to patients

Utilise video content. Leverage video content for various purposes including showcasing clinical work, patient testimonials and behind-the-scenes glimpses to build trust and connection with patients. Ensure inclusivity by adding captions 

Personalise patient care and communication. Implement technology like patient portals and communication apps to offer personalised care, enhance accessibility and understand patient needs and lifestyles better

Develop a stand-out brand identity. Define your practice’s unique selling point (USP) and create a consistent brand identity that reflects your practice’s personality, style and values across all touchpoints

Start with your why. Understand the purpose behind your practice, communicate your values and motivations effectively to your team and patients and let it guide your decisions and actions to thrive in the evolving dental market

Get your team on board. Investing in staff training and development is crucial for delivering exceptional care and maintaining a happy, skilled team.

Follow on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.


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