At the competitive edge of dentistry – Dr Chris McConnell BACD

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  Posted by: Dental Design      3rd May 2019

Business strategist, Daniel Burrus, once said, “There’s no competitive advantage in being just like everyone else”, which is especially true within dentistry. These days, competition between dental practices is fierce, as businesses big and small strive to attract new patients and retain existing ones. This is more challenging than it may seem, particularly as patients have greater freedom of choice over who they turn to for dental care. If you fail to meet or exceed patients’ demands and expectations with regard to treatment, make no mistake that they will take their business elsewhere.

Strengthening the patient-practitioner relationship is essential to generating loyal customers who are more likely to accept proposed treatments and spread word-of-mouth referrals. The importance of delivering a more valuable and fulfilling treatment experience than your competitors cannot be underestimated. This requires having a good understanding of what patients want from their dentist – and ensuring you deliver on these desires. Bearing this in mind, it might be time to consider ways in which you could gain a competitive edge over other dental practices.

Invest in new technology

Dentistry is often at the cutting-edge of technological developments, but many patients believe otherwise. You can challenge this stereotype and differentiate yourself from competitors by investing in new technology. Chairside CAD/CAM systems, for instance, enable clinicians to restore teeth in a day, as there is no lab turnaround time involved with the design and manufacture of a prosthesis. Although this increases the cost/time efficiency of treatment – creating a more comfortable experience for both patient and practitioner – just over half of UK dentists (55.6%) still do not utilise any aspect of CAD/CAM technology in their workflow.

This is an astounding reality, considering that the majority of practitioners feel CAD/CAM technology will play a significant role in the future of dentistry.[i]By utilising the latest CAD/CAM systems to enhance the efficacy of treatment, you are more likely to have a competitive edge over other practices that are unable to offer similar services – which can have a substantial positive impact on your ability to attract and retain patients. As technology becomes smaller, less expensive, and easier to integrate, you should never hesitate to upgrade your equipment to better serve patients. This will ultimately distinguish you as a progressive, forward-thinking practice, which can be emphasised in marketing material to further demonstrate that you can deliver on patients’ demands.

Stay active online

Without a professional website for your practice, you could be falling behind competitors and missing out on the opportunity to interact with patients about your business. As most people now use the internet to seek out products and services they require, practices cannot afford to ignore their website but rather, utilise it as a digital media channel. Practice websites can be used to provide educational, patient-focused content and post valuable information on dental treatments you offer. Blogging regularly is an effective way of adding relevant content and helping drive prospective patients to your website through search engine optimisation (SEO).

As one of the world’s most widely used digital platforms, social media is a powerful and inexpensive marketing tool. However, it is important to be consistently active on social media, in order to really engage with the community about your business. Social media can be used to provide oral hygiene tips, respond directly to feedback and queries, link to relevant websites (including your own), and announce treatment discounts or updates regarding your practice. Remember, before-and-after photos of successful cases shared on social media can go a long way in illustrating the possibilities of treatment to existing and potential patients.

Expand your services

Delivering an outstanding service is no doubt a key priority for dental practices, but you should ensure you are providing cutting-edge procedures that are highly valued and sought after by patients. Cosmetic and restorative dentistry continues to grow in popularity, so it may be worth expanding your services by offering professional tooth whitening, orthodontics, and dental implant treatment, which can help patients achieve desirable dental function and aesthetics. Additionally, patients you are seeking to attract will always appreciate promotional offers on selected procedures.

Of course, you will want to make sure that you stand out from competitors who might also offer a diverse range of dental services. Committed to encouraging and facilitating professional development among its members, the BACD strives to recognise practitioners with an exceptional level of clinical skill in providing safe, ethical and effective cosmetic dentistry. Successfully completing the BACD Accreditation Programme will earn you a distinguishable and unique accolade for your expertise in delivering the highest quality treatment, as judged by some of Britain’s top clinicians. In turn, patients are more likely to trust that you – rather than a competitor – can provide effective, long-lasting dental care.

Dentistry has never been more competitive than it is now, with the need for top quality treatments growing ever greater. By adopting a few simple measures to attract new patients and retain existing ones, you can ensure you always step one step ahead of the competition.  


For further enquiries about the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, visit


[i]Tran, D., Nesbit, M. and Petridis, H. (2016) Survey of UK dentists regarding the use of CAD/CAM technology. British Dental Journal. 221(10): 639-644. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2016.862.




Author Bio:


Dr Chris McConnell is a general dentist with a special interest in cosmetic and sedation dentistry. He has a broad working dental background having worked in specialist hospital units as well as high street practice both in the UK and Australia.

Through his commitment to advancing his skills and postgraduate development Chris has been awarded full membership of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also an appointed “opinion leader” for a multi-national dental company and is involved with training dentists in advanced cosmetic techniques throughout the UK. As well as working at St Piran, Chris also works part time as a visiting specialist at the Plymouth University Peninsula Dental School.



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