Shaadi Manouchehri: everything happens for a reason 

Shaadi Manouchehri gives us an insight into her rollercoaster journey from student to owner of a squat dental practice.

Dr Shaadi Manouchehri always dreamed of becoming an orthodontist, so after qualifying at Queen Mary’s in 2015, doing her vocational training in London followed by dental core training, she applied to orthodontics and missed out by one space. This change of plan sent her career on an entirely different trajectory, because finding a passion for working in practice meant that when the time came to reapply for orthodontics, she didn’t.

Shaadi is a big believer that everything happens for a reason. She stayed where she was, in a very good practice, for around three years before moving on to what she describes as ‘the job from hell’ – if you follow her on social media you’ll already be familiar with the story. She was working 12 hours a day, six days a week, and she was miserable. This was the point at which Shaadi realised she wanted to do something different, and social media beckoned.

At the same time, COVID-19 happened, which meant that Shaadi suddenly had the time to put her energy into the idea of creating a brand through social media. She had already booked a photoshoot prior to lockdown, meaning she had plenty of content to use. What started off as a distraction through the pandemic became a huge platform for Shaadi, with almost 210k followers on TikTok and 39k on Instagram to date. These followers started
to become actual patients, and Shaadi found she
was beginning to grow her list through her
online following.

Taking the leap

Shaadi jokes that coming from a Persian background means her parents were ambitious and had high expectations of her, but it’s one of the reasons she studied dentistry and it’s why she always had the goal of owning her own practice. She says: ‘It was one of those things where I thought, one day I’ll have my own practice. And then, as the years went by, I realised it’s not just going to happen on its own.’

‘I had to learn to accept that I’m never going to know everything there is to know. In my mind, I was thinking, once I know everything clinically, and I’m confident as a dentist, then I’ll have my own practice. But I’m never going to know everything – no one is ever going to know everything – but I can have a team of people who know the things I don’t know. So that’s when I started looking for premises.’

Squat or not?

Shaadi thought that the best approach would be to buy an established clinic and benefit from the expertise of the outgoing owner. However, she quickly realised that if a practice was being sold, there was usually a reason why – either the numbers didn’t make sense, the location wasn’t up to scratch, or the demographic wasn’t right for her.

She explains: ‘I’ve heard this concept that you attract patients similar to yourself. A lot of the patients that I was seeing on social media were young, professional females who care about their appearance and health. I realised, if I go in as a new principal, a young, relatively newly qualified dentist wanting to introduce all these ideas of digital dentistry and social media, not everyone’s going to like that. So, I could be paying a premium for the goodwill of the practice and there’s no guarantee that those patients are going to stay.’

‘So that’s what planted the seed in my mind. I started looking at squats but I had no idea where to start. I don’t have any dentists in the family, my parents aren’t business people, so it was very much an unknown world. Then this practice came up – I grew up not far from here, it was where my parents met and lived so the area is very close to my heart. When I saw it, I thought, this is it.’

Coping with competition

With a Central London location, how does Shaadi deal with competition? ‘I used to think competition was a negative thing, but it’s actually a very positive. The competition in Marylebone is insane, it wasn’t until I signed the deal that I realised there’s literally two practices right around the corner. But it’s not a bad thing. It means there are patients there.’

Many of Shaadi’s patients are avid followers on social media who have already bought into the brand before their first visit. ‘I’ve always been a big fan of organic marketing so I don’t do sponsored ads. Maybe a lot of people will tell me that I should but I’ve always focused on high quality content when it comes to social media and organic growth because I think that works best in my case.’

Following on from this, word of mouth is one of the biggest sources of growth for the practice. ‘A lot of patients who have completed their treatment with us bring their friends, their mum, their sister, and that’s the biggest compliment anyone can give us. So, I think just concentrating on really good, high-quality dentistry and just allowing the time and patience for it to grow organically really helps us stand out from the crowd.’

Highs and lows

For Shaadi, building the patient base, patients having a positive experience and growing the team give her the biggest buzz. ‘When a patient books it makes me so happy. I love seeing the business grow, both in terms of patients and our team. Every time someone comes in and gives us a compliment on the interior of the practice or their experience it just makes me so happy.’ 

Without question, the lowest point was the building works. The reasons are multi-faceted, from the obvious issues like overrunning in terms of both time and cost, but also because of the many unknowns. ‘I’m not very good at dealing with unknown things. The challenges of setting up a squat dental practice in Marylebone in a listed building are insane, because we had to wait about six to eight months for our permissions to come through and we were paying rent for that time; we couldn’t do anything. I wouldn’t recommend anyone does this as their first project. Had this been a normal building, we could have done whatever we wanted and we wouldn’t have had all the challenges that we did have.’

Successful beginnings

It’s fair to say that although Smart Dental & Aesthetics has only been open since September 2023, it’s already a roaring success. They are fully booked four days a week and the team is still growing. ‘We have about 10 staff at the moment. One of the biggest challenges is to grow the team because I want to make sure that every patient who comes to the practice gets a consistently good experience. Everybody is on the same page and everybody gels together.’

There are currently three clinical spaces at Smart Dental & Aesthetics – two dental surgeries and an aesthetics room. Plans for a further surgery are already in place for when they’re ready to grow.


Shaadi credits her family as her inspiration, they encouraged and supported her throughout the process. ‘I would like to thank my mum, dad and my brother for always supporting me and believing in me even when I didn’t. From comforting me through the stress of it all to coming with me to the clinic early on Sunday morning with builders, or helping me fix equipment and being there when I couldn’t. They are my biggest inspiration! I couldn’t have done this without them.’

She also thanks some very important people within the industry: ‘Amit Patel at Sardinia House Dental Practice is the principal that I was working for, and I still am doing the transition with – he’s an incredible mentor. Adarsh Thanki at Ace Dental London recognised something in me and was the first person to give me a chance. And Payman Langroudi, co-founder of Enlighten Smiles, has provided lots of support and guidance too.’ 

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