There is a message that we’ve been trying to get across to UK dentists ever since we launched Dentex over two years ago. The message is simple: there is a different way to practise dentistry.
It’s possible to grow and develop outside of the traditional ways that have existed here in the UK. I’m talking about co-ownership, which is our term for the Dentex business model. We’re trying to collaborate with dentists to build better dental businesses. That encompasses clinical excellence, but it also includes our culture – how we treat each other, and what we can do to achieve our goals together.
Co-ownership is different. We don’t acquire practices and then start telling them what to do. We work with our partners to support them in building pathways to better practices. We trust our people as clinicians in their practices, and they in turn trust us as professional managers who can guide them. Not only are our team experienced in supporting the management of practices, our board are professional investors, focussed on growing Dentex as a financial investment – something that dentists rarely do for their practices. This adds another dimension to how dentists invest: alongside professional investors in a diversified group, rather than solely in their own practice. As a concept, it’s been successful in other countries. It’s still relatively new here, but when you stop and look, so is the corporatisation of private practice in the UK as a whole.
We’re building a business that’s focused on growth in the long term. I’ve worked with dentists for almost 40 years and I believe that’s a concept that resonates with clinicians. Growth, engagement, development, financial investment – these are all aspects of great businesses, and we offer them to dentists in a way that has not traditionally been available.
We secured funding relatively easily – the business is well-backed by equity and our principals are also shareholders – and the journey since then has been one of growth. We’re on track with our five-year plan of growing by approximately 30 practices per year while at the same time providing an exceptionally high return to all shareholders. To me, that shows there is an appetite for this model among dentists. And we must be doing something right after people join too: because around 30% of our new acquisitions are referred by existing partners.
That’s a large part of what this publication is about: sharing the experiences of our partners so you can hear their stories of growth and fulfilment. And these are just a few of those partners. The Dentex family now has more than 60 practices within it and I would be happy for anyone wanting to know more to speak to any single one of them. We’re in alignment as an organisation. The practices that join us do so because they choose to – we don’t acquire practices where the principal doesn’t see the prospect for growth in what we’re building.
We’re working with clinicians who see a great future in clinical practice, and who want to step into that future together. It’s a very different future to what dentists have been offered or seen in the past. For some, it may be more complex, but it comes with so much more opportunity. I think that the future is an exciting place. If you agree, we’d love to hear from you.
Chief Executive Officer