If you were to ask most people about their expectations of a typical trip to the dentist, they would tell you there is nothing relaxing about it. Even routine check-ups strike nervousness into the hearts of adults and children worldwide, let alone long, drawn-out procedures. Checking in at the counter and sitting in a foreboding dental chair has never been a treasured experience for the vast majority. Dr. Minoo Ghamari, the principal dentist at Gorgeous Smiles in Melbourne, Australia, is attempting to change that.
Gorgeous Smiles aren’t scared
Bringing about an industry-wide shift involves changing patient perceptions, and Ghamari believes she can do that by creating a different kind of experience at the dentist’s office. Though she is a cosmetic dentist, primarily focusing on treatments such as Invisalign, the founder believes she can instill a new positive perception of dental practitioners. Reaching this outcome could lead to better growth for Gorgeous Smiles and the sector in a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ scenario.
“The main challenge for us and other dentistries is optimizing our patients’ mindsets about dental environments,” Ghamari, who co-founded her clinic with her mother, said. “Most people are scared of dentists or have had bad experiences in dentistry before. So, it is sometimes difficult for us to change such mindsets or make up for those experiences.”
Initially, simply operating as an aesthetic dental clinic was enough for Ghamari and her mother, Dr. May Balaei. The pair immigrated to Australia in 2013 with the dentist’s daughter yet to pass the required exams in their new country. She passed, and within a few years of Gorgeous Smiles opening its doors, they were able to purchase a bigger clinic. That was when they realized the potential for the business may have been greater than first imagined.
Envisioning a dental spa
Dramatically growing a customer base requires a company to offer something people can’t get anywhere else. Ghamari was already aware of the drawbacks of the dentist’s image when she founded her clinic, and she quickly realized that altering perceptions could go hand-in-hand with building her business.
“We wanted to create a kind of dental spa that people come to not to fear the dentist but to enjoy the experience,” she explained. “It was important to remind our patients that nothing is more important than keeping their oral environment healthy. We designed our procedure and protocols to be a one-of-a-kind service that we can reproduce anywhere.”
In specific terms, Gorgeous Smiles uses spa-like techniques to try and smooth the rough edges of the traditional dental experience. Management systems put patients in contact with professionals before arrival, often taking away the tedious and impersonal wait of a typical appointment. Complimentary beverages, relaxing music, and dental technology are among the other ways Ghamari’s Melbourne clinic attempts a therapeutic take on previously mundane trips.
How dentists can use social media
Many observers may think Gorgeous Smiles’ impact will be small as patients must commit to a procedure to see the difference. They would have been right until 2020 when Ghamari began using social media to keep herself busy. It turned out that staying occupied during that turbulent time was not the only consequence of Gorgeous Smiles arriving in the online world.
“We started offering online consultations for patients interested in cosmetic works,” she recalled. “But then we realized we could educate our patients through social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. The results were an improved brand image, better customer relationships, and raised awareness about dental procedures.”
Ghamari believes exposure to popular online spaces could simultaneously promote dental hygiene and transform negative mindsets in a way she has long desired. A crucial part of her strategy involves collaborating with dentists and hosting live sessions and giveaways. If other dental professionals follow suit, her efforts could have an impact far exceeding the Gorgeous Smiles waiting room.
That is the outcome Ghamari hopes for. While expansion plans across Victoria and Australia are in the works, it seems as if the principal dentist would work anywhere to reach the most people possible. She may not need to in the future as she continues to use social media while honing the in-person dental spa experience.