Case study: Experteeth Dental Group

The ability to treat every patient as an individual while providing superior resources, education and support to its teams has been an enabler of continued growth for Experteeth Dental Group, says Dr Hong Chang. 

Experteeth Dental is a private Group of practices with a difference. Founded by Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Gao and Chief Clinical Director Dr Hong Chang, patient-centred care and operational efficiency are a central focus.

The Group has been on a steady growth trajectory, expanding from three clinics in 2017 to a 32-strong network today. It operates across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania, with a heavy presence in regional areas.

One factor that sets the Group apart is that it’s owned by qualified dental professionals. So, as a truly independent network, clinical outcomes and patient care are at its core, and returns are reinvested in the business.

“We are proven, we have emerged strongly from COVID, and we are growing. We have the best of both worlds because we can tailor services to every patient and access the resources and buying power of a larger organisation. It’s helped us build patient loyalty and a leading position,” Jeffrey says.

Using proven Standard Operating Procedures supports a uniform “treatment philosophy,” however, Experteeth Dental encourages dentists to develop their own style. “At a high level, we unite as one,” Hong says. “But we don’t control the details of how our dentists treat patients; we leave that up to them.”

Education as a differentiator

A significant driver of new patients for Experteeth Dental is word-of-mouth referrals, making a high-quality patient experience essential. Jeffrey and Hong agree that to achieve this, education for both the Group’s teams and patients is paramount.

Experteeth Dental has a hybrid education model for practitioners, combining regular webinars with in-person training, which will soon be held at a central training hub in a new Sydney Head office.

Hong emphasises the importance of on-the-job training in patient management, saying, “We train our dentists to develop their clinical skills, but when someone comes in for a treatment, a good dentist makes you feel at ease.”

For the Group, good patient communication is a key component of education, particularly teaching dentists how to educate patients about their dental complications and treatments. Hong says that amid cost of living pressures, it has become more important to “help patients understand that without early intervention, it will only become more expensive down the track”.

Driving a digital revolution

Incorporating new technologies into practice operations is not new to Experteeth Dental, having quickly adopted communications tools to operate remotely and cloud-based platforms to share information across practices. However, increasing investment in clinical technology is driving what Jeffrey refers to as part of a “digital revolution”.

For instance, using specialised scanners to create dentures transforms a traditional five-step process into a two or three-step procedure, reducing production time from three months to two weeks.

Instead of creating a mould and physically sending it to Sydney, the scanner takes it, digitally sends it to the lab, and the design is returned to the regional location for 3D printing. According to Hong, this greatly enhances the patient experience and reduces costs.

Jeffrey adds that the Group has a defined approach to navigating the typical barriers to technology uptake, such as capital investment, learning curves to use new devices and machinery, and adapting to new ways of working.

“Our advantage is that we have scale, so we can bring the costs of acquiring new technology down across the Group,” Jeffrey says. “We have the capital to invest in technologies that provide material benefits to patients and run necessary courses to train up our teams.”

Gaining operational insights through data

The Group is increasingly looking at data analysis to improve its operational performance. While Jeffrey says this isn’t unique in the sector, where the Group differs is the type of data they look for and actions they take.

“When other practices look at their numbers, they’re often more profit-driven,” Jeffrey says. “For us, we’re more operational efficiency driven. That’s the difference.”

Jeffrey explains that the Group uses insights from its cloud-based Practice Management System to identify opportunities to streamline patient scheduling, team rostering, workflows and expenditure needs.

Hong says it is valuable to ensure that practices can meet the demand from patients and make resourcing decisions accordingly, particularly in regional locations. “Using the data available, we can see early if a dentist is accumulating a backlog of patients, so we know we need more dentists in that location.”


About CommBank & ADA Dental Insights

The 2024 Dental Insights Report is based on a quantitative survey of 414 decision-makers and influencers at dental practices across Australia. The survey examined practices’ operational and financial performance, strategic priorities and outlook to inform benchmarking and planning activities among practice decision-makers.

Fifth Quadrant conducted online practice surveys on behalf of CommBank Heath and the Australian Dental Association (ADA). The ADA supplied Fifth Quadrant with contact details that enabled it to conduct the research. The study of dental practices was conducted between 27 October 2023 and 17 November 2023. All references to practices in this report refer to those who participated in the survey, unless stated otherwise.

Things you should know

The case study is part of our Dental Insights report which has been published for general information purposes only. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances, if necessary, seek professional advice. The Bank believes that the information in the report is correct, and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in the report. Any projections and forecasts are based on a number of assumptions and estimates and are subject to contingencies and uncertainties. Different assumptions and estimates could result in materially different results.

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