Eco-conscious evolution: creating a sustainable dental practice

Eco-conscious evolution

Sameer Patel reveals how a luxury experience inspired him to create an eco-conscious dental environment like no other.

Inspiration often emerges from the unlikeliest sources. For Sameer Patel, a visit to the luxurious Maldives resort of Soneva Jani provided more than just a much-needed respite from dentistry. Surrounded by the azure waters of its private lagoon, he was captivated by this slice of paradise and its clever fusion of luxury and environmental mindfulness – and it ignited a spark. Returning home, he drew on its commitment to eco-conscious practices and its element of indulgence to create a tangible dental design concept – and so Elleven Dental Wellness was born. 

Opening last year, the clinic is located in the heart of London’s prestigious Harley Street and is widely regarded as a beacon of excellence. The team’s hard work has already reaped rewards, with the clinic winning the Private Dentistry Awards’ category of Practice Brand & Design 2023.

Under Sameer’s visionary leadership as clinical director – and with his wife Shivani and Anthony Lam, both orthodontic specialists – the clinic continues to go from strength to strength with a tranquil aesthetic that harmonises perfectly with their commitment to holistic patient care.

Sameer says: ‘I was totally inspired by the eco-centric luxury angle. I became a global ambassador for the resort three years ago – it is an inspiring brand! They have health and wellness running through their business. Now, our practice embraces the same eco-driven luxury concept. We prioritise sustainability and environmental consciousness in every aspect of our operations.’

It’s not his first foray into practice reinvention. He acquired Elleven Orthodontics more than 11 years ago, elevating it from a small two-surgery, single-speciality practice into the 18-clinician multidisciplinary practice it is today.

The ‘wow’ factor

To realise this latest reincarnation, he partnered with interior designers Walker Malagoni and installation experts Anglian Dental to incorporate eco-sustainability into the clinic’s design, workflow and operations. 

‘Shivani and I created a vision that was clear from the outset, which was crucial,’ Sameer explains. ‘We then chose our partners based on their sustainable outlook and commitment to environmental responsibility. We aligned ourselves with like-minded businesses to reinforce our dedication to sustainability and actively contribute to positive change. The team was awesome in terms of can-do and collaboration.’

The ‘wow’ factor is immediate. The clinic seamlessly blends functionality with aesthetic appeal. The architectural design is a testament to elegance and comfort, where natural light floods through strategically placed windows, creating an open, airy ambience. Soothing pastels punctuate earthy tones, while warm wood accents delicately juxtapose sleek metallic surfaces. Every detail has been planned to ensure a seamless workflow without compromising the overall atmosphere.

Eco-conscious investments

From a blank canvas spanning multiple storeys, the team worked closely with Sameer to define each floor’s purpose, allocating specific dentistry disciplines to each area.

Sameer says: ‘There were many revisions to ensure that we came up with the best layout. This was a massive challenge with the listed building consent, as we could not subdivide certain areas we would ideally like to have done. It’s a grade II listed building, so creating a modern practice with an organic, homely feel within a challenging zone was remarkable.’

Anglian Dental provided a turnkey design solution for this luxury practice. It installed all the dental equipment, including its first Belmont Eurus S8 package. The chairs’ innovative design features offer optimum convenience, including an intuitive touch screen and integrated chair foot controls.

‘Our partnership with Anglian Dental was fundamental to creating the practice, and the Belmont treatment centres offer value, comfort and reliability,’ Sameer says, aligning with his preference for sustainable investments. 

Sustainable philosophy

But what truly sets Elleven apart is not just the elegance of its physical surroundings but rather its underlying philosophy. Sameer and Shivani’s journey has been characterised by a desire to ensure the business is built on sustainability principles, and their commitment goes beyond rhetoric. 

There is a long list of initiatives aimed at reducing the practice’s environmental footprint, with every aspect of practice life carefully considered to ensure that Elleven Dental not only delivers exceptional dental care but does so in an environmentally responsible manner.

Central to this is an unwavering focus on customer service. Word of mouth is the practice’s primary source of referral, a testament to the trust and satisfaction of its patients. The emphasis on preventive dentistry, coupled with a collaborative approach that brings together specialists under one roof, ensures every patient receives personalised care of the highest calibre. 

Over the past 15 years, Sameer and his team have worked hard to create the best patient experience possible, but it is a journey ‘that is still evolving’, Sameer says. 

‘We want every patient to know their wellbeing is central to our decisions. Technology and systems are key to ideal workflow in any industry, and dentistry is no different.’

And the argument for a more eco-focused delivery of dentistry is compelling.

A vision for dentistry

‘We are minimally invasive and focus on preventing future issues, which goes hand in hand with sustainability,’ says Sameer. ‘Our vision for dentistry needs to reflect the space we are in so that it feels seamless. We considered how we bring sustainability into our surgeries. 

‘In every room, there are two bins – one recycling bin and one normal bin. We don’t use paper or plastic cups, only sterilisable metal cups. There’s almost no printing, everything is fully digital, and we don’t take impressions, we scan instead. We only partner with other businesses that have a sustainable outlook. We order only once a month, so there aren’t endless deliveries adding to our carbon footprint, and we focus on using recycled materials throughout the building, such as wood signage and recycled plastic vinyl. 

‘We’re trying to make a concerted effort that we hope will create a blueprint for how practices can work sustainably.’

Even subliminally, there is a need to pamper and protect patient health. In the waiting lounge, they are greeted with a sign that reads: ‘I’m sorry, we don’t have Wi-Fi. It’s your time just to be silent, relax and have mindful time.’ It’s a nudge for those who need it and an affirmation that this clinic cares deeply about its patients.

In addition to this commitment, Elleven is deeply rooted in giving back to the community. This includes pro bono cases, where they enhance patients’ smiles to boost their self-esteem and confidence. 

Looking to the future, Sameer envisions Elleven Dental Wellness as not just a leading dental practice but a pioneer in shaping the future of dentistry. Through educational initiatives and mentorship programmes, the goal is to nurture the next generation of dentists, fostering a culture where eco-consciousness and holistic treatments flourish to improve dentistry’s landscape.

Eco-dentistry in action: Elleven offers 10 of its sustainable practices  

1. Leadership in sustainable luxury dentistry

We offer an eco-driven luxury dentistry experience that promotes environmental consciousness, community engagement and exceptional care.

2. Sustainable operations

We implement practices such as separate recycling bins, food waste recycling and no plastic distribution to reduce waste and promote proper waste management.

3. Eco-friendly partnerships

We work with partners committed to reducing environmental impact, supporting green lifestyles and promoting eco-friendly products.

4. Aesthetic sustainability

Our clinic’s aesthetics reflect our commitment to sustainability, including wooden and eco-friendly vinyl signage and recycled sofas

5. Ethical sourcing and community engagement

We support marginalised communities by sourcing artefacts from East Africa and Asia, collaborating with fair trade practices and engaging in charity work.

6. Waste reduction and carbon footprint

We minimise waste by ordering supplies monthly, reducing environmental impact and setting a blueprint for sustainable practices.

7. Excellence in dentistry

We offer high-end dentistry and exceptional service delivered by highly skilled clinicians, using the latest tools and technologies to ensure outstanding long-term health outcomes.

8. Technological advancements

We use digital scanners instead of impression materials to increase precision and avoid wastage. Our practice has cutting-edge tools, such as intraoral scanners, CBCT and AI diagnostic X-ray software for comprehensive patient care.

9. Wellness-driven environment

We prioritise patient and staff wellbeing through calming environments, meditation pods, hydration initiatives and spacious relaxation areas.

10. Core values

Embracing the core values of culture, compassion, collaboration and courage guides every interaction with patients and team members.

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