How I did it – The Cosmetic Dental Gallery

the cosmetic dental gallery hartej Hartej Matharu has transformed this practice into an award-winning state-of-the-art environment facilitating optimum treatment and patient care.

The practice

Cosmetic Dental Gallery.

The ethos

I want our patients to feel like they are the focal point of the practice, which has been planned around the patient experience.

We strive for clinical excellence and we aim to ensure a smooth and streamlined patient journey from start to finish.

We provide patients with clear and thorough information on all of the appropriate options to achieve the outcomes they desire, and this enables them to make an informed decision.

The Cosmetic Dental Gallery is a fully private practice with two surgeries in Greenwich. The practice opened just before lockdown in March 2020, and an expansion to create two more surgeries is planned for completion in 2021.

The team

Hartej Singh Matharu – practice principal

Harj Singh Matharu – associate dentist

Ciara Gabrielle Ennis and Yavar Khan – specialists

Egle Varneckaite and Harneet Sohal – hygienists

Samira Gurung and Chloe Woodruff – nurses

Zoe Lawrence and Kerryann Hart – receptionists

The building

The building unit was a shell, which I acquired in May 2019.

We had to wait for D1 permission to use it for non-residential purposes. D1 permission had been previously rejected, but I knew we’d receive permission if we made subtle alterations to the design.

So we went ahead with purchasing the unit and then waited about six weeks before reapplying. We received approval and in September 2019 we started to fit out the building.

The build

We completed the building works in January 2020, but we had to wait for our CQC inspection as they had a backlog. This inspection eventually happened at the end of February 2020.

It was rather stressful at the time because we had taken on staff and preregistered patients. We had planned to open in January, so this delay caused quite an inconvenience and added expense.

Eventually we opened in the first week of March, then two weeks later we were hit by lockdown and the coronavirus. The practice closed for 11 weeks after opening for just two weeks. We reopened in June 2020.

The design

As part of our design we used Apollo Interiors. They helped sketch out the architectural plans for the layout of the surgeries based on some of the design specification I had stated and also the number of surgeries we were planning to have.

We have two floors – the ground floor and basement. The basement is larger so I wanted three surgeries there and two on the ground floor, as well as a consultation room, X-ray room and decontamination room, stock room and toilets.

The design team at Apollo, my family and I worked together to make the most efficient use of the space we had available.

The site has high ceilings, giving a depth of between four and five metres. So the design maximises the space capitalising on the light coming into communal areas.

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The equipment

We bought our chairs from A-dec. I went to their showroom and specified the exact chair I wanted.

Visiting was the right move because there are so many options you can get on the A-dec chair. It’s like buying a car.

I tried having a telephone conversation with A-dec about it but they strongly recommended I come to the showroom and I am really pleased I did. You just cannot do it over the phone. I spent the best part of half a day there perfecting my chair.

Visiting a showroom was a game-changer for me. There are lots of manufacturers on the market and it is hard to choose.

I had A-dec in my head when I started looking because of a previous positive experience. But they had brought out a new chair the A-dec 500 – with lots of optional extras on it. Depending on what type of clinician you are and what type of dentistry you predominantly do, you can pick certain features.

For example, we went for the Prime Advanced Air system, which is brand new technology from W&H and A-dec. We were among the first three practices in the country to have this technology.

The technology deals with the way that compressed air is delivered to the handpiece. The handpiece constantly monitors rotation speed and can deliver more power into the handpiece when needed so you never get a drop in power. It is a fantastic handpiece and it works really well.

I guess my point is that I would not have known about it if I had not visited the showroom.

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The chair

We wanted to ensure that the journey for the patient was as comfortable as possible. So I needed a chair that was as comfortable as possible.

A lot of the time, I have worked with older chairs and lumbar support is a big thing. Particularly when patients come in for cosmetic treatment and may be in the chair for several hours.

I went to the A-dec showroom. The comfort of the new A-dec 500 chair amazed me.

I also wanted to see what advances in technology were available. What I liked was the silent movement of the chair because of the hydraulics system.

I like the ability the chair has to accept multiple electric units, including slow handpieces, speed increasing handpiece and even the W&H Advanced Air mechanism. This led me to the conclusion that A-dec is at the top of its game in this area.

I went for a chair without a spittoon. When I saw the configuration without a spittoon, it made more sense to me in terms of right handed or left handed use and 360° access. It is ideal for when performing extractions.

I have noticed over the years you tend to get a lot more spillages when using a spittoon, but when patients bring the suction cup to their mouth, it is much more hygienic and easier to control in terms of cross infection and spillage.

We have had some great feedback from our patients and they tend to prefer the suction cup. It is much more hygienic and offers more privacy then a traditional spittoon.

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The treatment offering

We specialise in cosmetic treatments, but offer all forms of general dentistry as well.

We have a periodontist as well as an orthodontist and implant dentist in house. They are supported by a friendly team consisting of two hygienists and two cosmetic dentists.

The practice has a diverse range of patients. It is mainly young professionals working in and around the area, but we also have patients travelling from all over London as well as a couple coming from as far as Birmingham. We also have an older cohort of patients who are having dental implants. But mainly it is early 20s to mid 40s city professionals.

Naturally we do a lot of Invisalign/orthodontic work and veneers. Composite bonding is a treatment modality which is very popular. I think it is because of the way it is advertised across the county and because of the lack of preparation needed. Patients want it and tend to feel more comfortable with it.

The marketing

Before we opened we put up posters to make the local area aware of our impending opening. This worked very well in terms of pre-registering patients.

We then utilised social media with Facebook and Instagram and this medium has helped produce a steady stream of new patients.

We have not shut for the second lockdown and the patient base is growing steadily.

The future looks bright for the Cosmetic Dental Gallery. I am very grateful to all of the individuals who have helped me achieve this dream. Especially to my team who work tirelessly to provide customer service of the highest quality. 

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This article first appeared in Private Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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