The dental conference with a difference

by Business growth, News

The dental conference with a difference    By Jonathan Fine. September 29, 2016.

Something different happened at the Fine Talk event in Coventry last Friday. OK, the speakers did their presentations about being dental disruptor big beasts (as you would expect with a title like Meet the Dental Disruptors) but what really struck us was the engagement between speakers and the audience between the talks, and also the intensity of the Q&A sessions.

We can’t remember seeing anything like it, so we must have been doing something right. Perhaps it was because I didn’t let anyone off the hook  — audience or presenter — after each presentation. There seemed to be a real spirit of enquiry which we want to encourage even more at the next event.

We’ll have a highlights video to show you soon. It feels like we’re entering a new space where we can share knowledge and ideas, free from the conventional shackles of sales conversions on the day. It’s worth noting that none of the speakers at Fine Talk were paid for their time, and about 50 dentists took costly time out of their busy schedules to come to the event.

We’re thinking bigger now and that means working on a format where we can interview dental disruptors from across the world in front of live audiences. Some people out there have an awful lot to teach us, as anyone at the event on Friday will know.

Here’s to a dynamic and rapidly changing future! One thing we now know for sure is it’s not going to be boring. If you missed the event, here’s the synopsis of the talks with the speakers’ details — feel free to contact them if any of their ideas strike a chord with you and might suit your plans over the next few years. The thing to remember here is that everyone is happy to help each other and so we’re giving you open access to the most successful dental practice owners in the UK and Ireland. We hope you benefit from this unique opportunity. 

Here’s what the speakers talked about:

Dominick Flanagan and David Harman — Centre For Dentistry.

Dominick Flanagan, right, and David Harman

Dominick Flanagan, right, and David Harman delivered a tour de force on Centre For Dentistry’s new patient-centric approach

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CFD operates 25 dental practices inside Sainsbury’s stores. It is a truly pioneering format bringing a full service to patients in an accessible, modern environment. The proposition is one of convenience, price transparency, great clinical standards plus a good helping of warmth and empathy. Co-founder Dominick pioneered home shopping in the UK and was a director of Somerfield; IT director David has masterminded warehouse management systems and transactional systems for a number of well known high street names. Together they took their insights to build a revolutionary patient management system, CFI. This new cloud based system provides granular, real time information with access wherever you are in the world. Dentistry is about change on so many fronts — Dominick and David will explain what they’ve learnt during four years of innovation at CFD.

Dr Martina Collins — MD of Martina Collins Dental & Skin Clinic.

Marina Collins gets more than half her new patients through social media

Martina Collins gets more than half her new patients through social media and has carved out a niche in facial aesthetics that’s unrivalled in Northern Ireland

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For anyone who is not familiar with the dental practice scene in Belfast, it is crowded and highly competitive with some very talented clinicians. Against this backdrop and wanting to create a new market space and become a disrupter, in March 2015 Martina launched Martina Collins Dental & Skin Clinic. Just 18 months later her business has full diaries and an impressive P&L. It trades like a squat that has been established for 10+ years. Her secret, which she is more than happy to share, is the provision of premium advanced facial aesthetics for both males and females within an age range of 27 to 77. Martina will outline the five essential ingredients you need to build a successful and highly profitable FA practice.

John Anderton — MD of Digital Dental.

John Anderton explained how to reduce cost base with open source technology

John Anderton explained how to reduce your operating cost base with open source technology

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Enabling patients to try before they buy makes dentistry a lot less scary, particularly high value treatments such as implant supported dentures. John has spent more than 15 years helping dentists install open source 3D imaging technology that improves patient journeys in this way. He will explain how combined 3D data provides an artefact-free model including bone, crowns and soft tissue for restoration-initiated implant planning and surgical guide manufacturing and is analysed for orthodontic treatment plans. The patient gets to see a full 3D representation of their mouth without uncomfortable impressions and they can try on mock-ups, making any adjustments they feel necessary before permanent work begins. The upshot is less lab work, quicker treatment times, less invasive dentistry and a more informed patient, which is why top tier practices are lining up to integrate this 3D digital workflow.

Dr David Murnaghan — owner of Boyne Dental & Implant Clinic.

David Murnaghan hit €2.6m turnover within three years of founding his dental practice

David Murnaghan hit €1.4m turnover within three years of founding his dental practice and transformed the dental market in Navan, Co Meath

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Despite being just 33 David is a well known implantologist in Ireland. When he bought his own practice in Navan, County Meath, three years ago the turnover was less than €60k. Today it’s €1.4m and the practice has moved from miserable premises (his words) above a former bank to a state of the art converted courthouse in the centre of town with six surgeries. Boyne Dental is an efficient business; whenever patients or clinicians ask for something at reception it gets done quickly. David’s secret is his exceptional team, both clinical and non-clinical. The waterpolo team captain is a great communicator who knows how to build teams and also how not to — expect a full appraisal of this core leadership role.

Andrew Sutton FBDO MSHAA — formerly of SpecSavers.

Andrew Sutton detailed the way joint venture partnerships could work in dentistry

Andrew Sutton explained how joint venture partnerships could work in dentistry like they have done in optics

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Andrew spent 25 years with optical market leaders Specsavers and at one point ran four stores each with a £1.5m turnover. Andrew was also responsible for Specsavers’ introduction of hearing aid services, Specsavers’ initial sponsorship of rugby referees, and professional development initiatives. Andrew has a vision for dentistry and a view as to where the opportunities lie — he will be describing the kind of business model that he believes would best leverage these opportunities. Andrew will draw on his experience at Specsavers to suggest that the joint venture partnership is going to be dentistry’s first true killer proposition because it will serve seasoned entrepreneurial practitioners and young practitioners who want the support of others while building their own business.


“There seemed to be a real spirit of enquiry which we want to encourage more at the next event”

Jonathan Fine, MD

Author: Jonathan Fine