By the end of this year, we will have around 280 clinics

Amarinder Singh, CEO, Clove Dental, talks about the growth prospects of dental clinics in India and chalks out plans for the company’s progress

Tell us more about the partnership with Denty’s? What are your expansion plans?

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Amarinder Singh

We have partnered with Denty’s as we were looking out to expand nationally. Clove Dental being a bigger network, all the clinics located in South India will be known as Clove clinics and it will be a consistent brand. Our next focus is to expand in three major cities of South India — Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. There are plans to open 30 to 40 clinics in next nine to 12 months. By end of this year, we will have around 280 clinics – 145 in the north and 140 in south.

The concept of neighbourhood dental clinics is not new. Dentistry as a profession is a neighbourhood business globally and not a destination business like hospitals. The needs of the patient are not that different and the difference is in the level of the oral hygiene. A corporate chain like us give significant importance to the quality of treatment and today we have 451 dentists in our network. There is not a single dental complexity case that we are not able to solve. Twice a month, each clinic of ours is audited for quality by a set of dentists. The pricing is standardised across a city.

You have large clinics besides smaller ones. How has it helped to improve your business?

In cluster approach, we have four to five zones in each location, which has a network of 20 to 30 clinics. For example in NCR, Gurgaon alone, we have 20 clinics with 40 or 50 doctors. We have rotating multi-specialist team of doctors at any segment of dentistry be it endodontist, orthodontist, periodontist and prosthodontist. It becomes convenient for patients as each clinic is fully capable of performing all treatments as specialists come in and the clinics are open from 9 am to 9 pm, even on weekends. Cluster approach increases efficiency and lowers the price.

How do patients stand to gain when compared to My Dentist, Axis Dental, Apollo White Dental?

Clove Dental is the only dental clinic in this segment which has a dedicated department that focuses on quality audits and case reviews. We spend our time, money and energy on making sure that treatment quality is consistent and high. Our prices are comparable to all of them. In some treatment we are lower and higher than other dental chains by Rs 50 to Rs 100. We are the biggest buyer of dental chairs, be it gloves or files used for root canals. We bring in high quality equipment and consumables. For example, the manufacturer recommends to discard a file used for root canal after using for five times (sterlising after every use), as the bristles fade away.

In Clove clinics it is used four to five times, at times and not beyond that. Many dentists or private clinics don’t follow such stringent quality. Apart from it, consumers get the benefit of comparable prices, best equipment and quality. We don’t want to compete with anyone here, we are looking for collaborations and not competition. With the same standards not compromising with the quality, we have two clinics one in Okhla and other in Red Cross Hospital in Dilshad Garden, which offers free service for lower income groups and two mobile clinics for CSR camps.

How much is invested in equipment? What is your take on GST?

Dentistry is a segment which is technologically advanced. The equipment used ranges from 9,000 to 10,000 rpm (rotary instruments in operative dentistry) and they are usually small micro high precision equipment moving at high speed. Hence, we can’t compromise on the safety and quality of these equipment. This year, we will invest at least Rs 40 crore on equipment for our new clinics. So far, we have invested about Rs 60 to 70 crore on equipment alone.

As for the GST, we hope that it will increase our efficiency, as we can buy national and international goods from vendors and distribute them across without worrying about the inter-state tax. We are hopeful that it will increase our efficiency.

Do you have any case studies on oral health by Clove Dental?

Clove Dental has done oral hygiene check-up of over 100,000 school children in Delhi and the NCR from over 200 schools, which includes both private and the government. We have a proper data but nothing has been published yet. We will publish it soon.

prathiba.raju@expressindia.com

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