Eben Van der Walt explains how partnering with Dentex has given him the freedom to practise the dentistry that he loves.
I had a very simple upbringing in a small rural community in South Africa, far away from the cutting-edge world of aesthetic dentistry. But I decided from an early age that I wanted to become a dentist. I completed my degree in dentistry from the University of Stellenbosch 20 years ago.
A couple of years after arriving in the UK, I started working as an associate at Portmore Dental in Surrey. I focused on cosmetic dentistry having attended the Aesthetic Advantage Program at New York University and reaching masters level in aesthetic dentistry in 2007. I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the Aesthetic Alumni in Palm Beach, Florida and appointed as an instructor to Aesthetic Advantage students.
Soon I became a partner and Portmore became fully private in 2006. Since then the practice has gone from strength to strength, providing exceptional treatment for our patients. We provide an array of specialties all under one roof and have 22 full-time staff with five dentists. Needless to say, we are a very busy private practice!
A beneficial decision
I did have a few reservations when Dentex approached us, as did some of the partners. However, we had come to a crossroads as some of the partners were approaching retirement and we still wanted the practice to carry on in the same vein. We didn’t want to lose momentum and wanted to very much carry on with the same velocity. We joined Dentex in October and it has been a really beneficial decision for all of us. The team is the number one priority and partnering with Dentex has meant not much has changed.
After looking and evaluating several options, Dentex felt like the right choice for us. Compared to other dental corporates, we could keep our identity, which was essential for me. The Dentex team were very helpful and explained how the co-ownership model could improve and aid us, without losing our values and practice ethos.
Partnering with Dentex allows the team and I to concentrate on what we are good at – practising dentistry and retaining clinical control. Dentex helps us with HR, legal issues, marketing, finance and compliance. Dentex virtually eliminates the stress and burden of administration.
It has been such a positive change for us – it has given us more free time, more support and brought the team closer together.
Even more efficient
There has also been zero impact on the patients. They haven’t noticed any changes and still receive the same excellent service and treatment that they always have. In fact, I’d say we are a lot more efficient and on the ball.
Patients can identify a happy team very quickly, and a happy team equals a better patient experience. Creating an atmosphere of enjoyment in the workplace is non-negotiable. Dentex has enabled us to create a stress-free practice with a harmonious team, which means everyone benefits.
Another advantage is that you are part of the Dentex team so there is the opportunity to meet with other practice principals and associates and exchange ideas and thoughts. There is an annual event that Dentex invites partners to, which is invaluable. I am also personally involved in arranging events both clinically and socially for Dentex partners and associates. We are forming a formidable community. Communicating your experiences with your peers helps you move forward in this fast-changing profession and we can share and learn together.
I would wholeheartedly say to any dentist who is considering the move to go for it. Portmore is now thriving with the support from Dentex – and without the stress for me. I am enjoying it even more.