Accessible dentistry for all
Lisa Riley reveals the benefits of setting up shop in a supermarket
Centre for Dentistry is helping to bring dental treatments to patients in an accessible and easy to understand way. Operating exclusively out of Sainsbury’s supermarkets, our practices offer private dental services with transparent pricing in order to ensure that patients are well-informed and comfortable with all treatment and the associated costs.
We opened our first practice in 2012, and since then we have expanded by opening a further 24 in locations across the country. Two months ago, we treated our 100,000th patient, and we believe that this success is due to the welcoming atmosphere and the familiarity our practices can bring thanks to both our staff and our supermarket locations.
A welcoming atmosphere
Unlike the clinical atmosphere that some high street practices provide, one of the core aims of Centre for Dentistry is to create a familiar space, which is why we chose supermarkets as the ideal location for our practices.
By introducing our services into these bustling environments, we offer patients familiar sounds and smells – helping them feel at ease so that the prospect of dental work isn’t nearly as daunting.
Furthermore, the supermarket locations allow our practices to feel fresh and modern without being intimidating, meaning that many people who pop in to do their weekly shop can look in and see what could be done for them.
Our practices are all fully equipped with modern technology, and also have the added benefit of free parking for patients. As part of offering accessible dentistry for a wide segment of the population, all of our practices are open until 8pm. This gives patients the chance to come and see us after work or at a time that suits them, meaning they don’t need time off work and can more easily fit dental treatments into their schedules.
Service with a smile
We believe that one of the key parts of our ethos at Centre for Dentistry is providing a truly friendly service. All of our staff are chatty and approachable, and this helps to put people at ease. It’s not uncommon for children to come in and play with our drawing tables. We encourage people with treatment scheduled to drop by for a hot drink whenever they do their supermarket shop, helping them feel at ease and dispel any worries they may have leading up to their procedure.
We’ve also encouraged people who suffer from dental anxiety or phobia to come and sit in the dental chair without receiving treatment – this can help them dispel any fears they have as they start to associate the space with safety and comfort instead of dread. Complementing this, we are keen to bypass any industry jargon. Nobody likes to feel like they don’t understand things, especially involving their health, so it is important for us to explain proposed treatments and prices clearly.
As Centre for Dentistry is dentally led (there are three clinical directors on our board), we aim to help all our professionals develop in their careers. Every year we provide a bursary for three or four individuals, which they often use towards specialist training. We also hold a number of short courses designed to help professionals advance their skills in areas of interest.
Communication between our practices is integral to how we work, and we hold regular clinical meetings whenever we discuss changing materials, equipment or other aspects of our services. We are currently putting into place a reduced indemnity scheme, and we like to support our staff by ensuring they receive all the industry information and advice they need.
The future is bright
Our main intention is to continue to grow across the country in order to bring our style of service to a wider audience. What we really want to do is make a visit to the dentist as easy as healthy eating or going to the gym, cutting out the fear in order to help people maintain their family’s health.
Becoming an influence
The main reason behind joining the Association of Dental Groups (ADG) was to become part of a wider conversation about the industry and to help influence the direction that it is heading.
We have been part of the ADG for two years now, and what really stands out is how fantastic the group is at allowing people to come together in what is traditionally quite a fragmented industry. We have a voice in decisions, not only from a governmental point of view but also a regulatory one as well.
By joining, we can now hear the different perspectives shared in these conversations and have a voice when contributing our own input. As the ADG is a collective, it is a much more powerful platform from which we can gain knowledge, understanding and influence within the profession than we would on our own. These are just some of the many reasons why the ADG is tremendous value to us.
The views presented in this article and those of the author and not necessarily the ADG as a whole. For more information about the ADG, visit