The Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry has been running for almost 10 years, but it was a project Scot Muir only got involved with in 2014. We speak to Scot about his journey buying into the practice.

If you’ve ever had a quick search online for Scottish dentistry, you’ve probably come across the Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry (SCED) before.

The referral-only practice based in Glasgow has more than 100 years’ combined experience in dentistry, placing over 8,000 dental implants.

Finalists and winners of numerous awards, including Best Practice of the Year – Scotland and Best Specialist Referral Practice UK 2010, SCED is run by Arshad Ali, clinical director, and Scot Muir, director.

We spoke to Scot Muir, who joined Arshad in 2014 about his motivation for moving to SCED and what it’s been like since he moved.

‘Most of the practitioners around this area and the west of Scotland have heard of SCED, maybe they’ve visited the practice, seen the ethos and the way the facilities are set up to benefit the patients and to help provide dental care,’ Scot said.

‘From the minute I met Arshad, saw the facilities myself and looked around the place, one of things I asked myself is, who wouldn’t want to work here? It’s been a fairy tale story for me since then and I’ve never looked back.’

Designed with the patient in mind

Walking through the practice, everything has been designed with the patient in mind. From the large tropical fish tank in the waiting room to help patients feel relaxed and at home, whilst also separating the waiting room from the four surgeries on the ground floor, to the floor lighting guiding patients around the practice, the atmosphere around the practice helps patients to feel calm.

A separate treatment coordinator office off from the reception also means patients can openly discuss their treatment options away from a surgery environment.

‘When I first walked into SCED and Arshad was showing me around, I couldn’t help but wonder how the practice operated on a day to day basis. We have so many telephones, computers, a lab, a call centre.

‘The first thing I did was sit down with Ian Wilson, director at IWT Dental Supplies, and talk through how the whole process works, from dictaphones, to secretary phones, intercoms, the Software of Excellence system, IWT is absolutely essential in making everything work together.’

But the team isn’t standing still, Scot and Arshad have continually developed SCED to help it stay at the cutting-edge of practice development. ‘Over the past three years we’ve been trying to grow the practice based 100% on new technology. We’ve been investing heavily in our IT, our Trios and we’re investing in our laboratory too.’

Increasing treatments

Since arriving, Scot has helped to increase the number of treatments currently being offered. ‘Our top line management has been split into specialist roles and started concentrating just on those areas,’ Scot explained. ‘Business coach Chris Barrow has really helped us with those ideas.’ This has helped the practice to grow and increase its treatment offerings.

Building on the previous services, SCED can now offer orthodontics, facial aesthetics, more hygienist services, hypnosis, cognitive behavioural therapy to help with anything from smoking cessation, all the way through to the fear of flying and, more importantly, dental phobia. ‘This has helped our patients incredibly,’ Scot says.

Upstairs at SCED is a second reception area for face and body rejuvenation treatments, offices and changing rooms for all the staff. But the main attraction is the dental lab, opened in 2017. The on-site laboratory provides patients with the highest standard of dentures and implant bridges. It means SCED now offers quicker treatment turnarounds with more accurate restorations.

‘Standard advertising’

Marketing a dental practice has become an essential part of any successful practice’s workflow. SCED is no exception and it’s Yvonne Muir, marketing manager, who is responsible for driving the marketing forward. But she isn’t the only person involved. Chris Barrow has also been working with the practice to come up with some new innovative ways to promote the practice’s services. Yvonne will then bring these ideas back to the table and discuss them with Scot and Arshad, giving the team an opportunity to voice their opinions.

‘There’s been a shift in the way we do things, from “standard advertising” through to marketing directly to our existing customers,’ Scot said.

‘More importantly now, we speak directly with our referrers, to enable them to talk to us daily and give us information on what they’re looking for from their patients’ perspective, from their point of view as a referrer, and in a patient workflow context. How are we going to get patients from our referrer’s surgeries into the practice and back to the surgeries that have referred them in a convenient manner and to the best of our standards?

‘It’s become a lot more involved than “standard advertising”.’

In the future, Scot wants more practices to come and visit SCED, to see what the practice is doing. To help achieve this, Yvonne is looking to put on more educational events at the centre throughout the year, helping with the personal development of some of the referring dentists, whilst also showing them what the practice can offer.

Go for it

Taking on a big project is a daunting prospect at first. With Scot, moving into an already successful practice and trying to make his stamp on it and develop it further was always going to be difficult. But, now on the other side, Scot has some advice for anybody else looking to make a big leap for their career.

‘Plain and simple, go for it. Get the right guys around you and stick to your convictions. If there’s something you really want to do, you really believe in, if it’s the way you feel you want your career to go, it’s probably easier than you think. There are plenty of people out there that would be willing to help and give advice.’