Dr Sat Kelley opened Heath Dental in 2005 with one very clear, but forward-thinking goal, to deliver painless, anxiety-free quality dentistry and alter patient perception.
Fast forward 14 years and Dr Kelley is proud to say it’s an approach that has resulted in a loyal and continually growing patient base.
We spend the day with Sat and his team to find out more.
Although it may be the norm today to see dental practices transformed from their stereotypical cold and clinical environments with the noise of the drill buzzing throughout to reception it wasn’t when Sat opened Heath Dental back in 2005.
So where did Sat’s inspiration come from? Surprisingly he tells us it stems from his own childhood experience of dentistry.
“The reason why I became a dentist and why I wanted to create a different type of practice was heavily influenced by visiting my dentist as a child. I remember being in the chair not understanding, or being told about, what was going to happen. I was offered gas and air with that horrible taste. The whole experience was rounded off with a mouth full of blood. It was fairly traumatic.
“Even then, I thought there has to be a better way of treating patients. It’s an experience that stuck with me. But, as a child I hadn’t realised how much the issue I had with my teeth was affecting me. It was only after my dental treatment that my confidence grew and I came to appreciate just how important a dentist can be in people’s lives.”
Sat goes on to tell me how he runs his practice was also influenced by how his parent’s ran their newsagent and post office when he was growing up.
“Every year my dad used to bring his drinks trolley into the shop, raise a glass to each customer and share a tipple. I never understood why then. Years later customers told us how warmly they regarded my parents for the gesture –they appreciated that my parents made their customers feel like one of family.”
And it’s this family feel that’s evident across the practice. The team are warm and welcoming, time is taken to make each patient feel comfortable and when extra time is needed for an anxious patient it’s not an issue – it’s given willingly.
“No one wants to go to the dentist. But a visit shouldn’t keep patients awake at night. It doesn’t need to be painful. The whole team is there to make the experience a positive one – whatever it may take.
“I don’t mind missing my lunch break for patients – I’ve not had one in ages actually. I want them to leave surprised by the experience, not wishing it could have been better.”
Unsurprisingly the results of Sat’s approach speak for themselves. Every patient at Heath Dental is asked to rate their experience and the team - four dentists, three hygienists and eight nurses and support team and practice manager – they consistently get ratings in the high 90s. What’s more, many of the patients who joined the practice in 2005 are still on the books.
“I’m so proud of my team, and the practice we’ve been able to create together.”