Our team recently fitted out London cosmetic dentistry clinic – Islington Smiles – for Dr Marisa Monteiro.
In this article, published in September 2022 Private Dentistry Magazine, Dr Monteiro talks about her career and the process of creating her latest boutique clinic.
Islington Smiles is a family-run, independent boutique dental clinic located in North London.
We offer affordable cosmetic dentistry with no compromise on quality. Our aim is to make cosmetic dental treatments accessible to everyone.
I opened my first clinic, Battersea Smiles, a few years ago when I decided to take over a failing squat practice. I was heavily pregnant at the time, having just gone on maternity leave, and had no real idea what I was letting myself in for! Coping with a newborn and setting up your first practice are both difficult in their own rights – trying to do both at the same time proved to be an enormous challenge especially with no prior experience with either!
After taking six months off to focus on my new family, I then threw myself into my new clinic, focusing primarily on utilising my cosmetic dentistry skills. I found that many patients seeking cosmetic dental treatments were busy professionals unable to make daytime appointments. I would often be seeing clients until 9 or 10pm in the evening. It was a very busy period in my life but I had to graft to survive. By the time I had my second child in 2019, I had expanded the business and taken on an associate to help me.
When Covid hit, we had to temporarily close the practice. However, we found that during the pandemic, interest in Invisalign treatments rocketed, so I started to offer virtual consultations. Online Invisalign consultations rapidly became my day job during that time and we were thankful to be able to continue with this element of the business whilst the clinic had to remain closed.
Post-pandemic, we had expanded our client base sufficiently to open our second clinic in Brixton. Around this time, we found that several of our patients were relocating north of the river and were asking if we had a practice in North London. For us, this seemed a natural progression, so we started on the lookout for a suitable premises.
Our Islington Smiles practice is located in the heart of Islington in a prominent high street location that was previously occupied by a bank. We were fortunate that the process of finding a suitable property was remarkably straightforward and we’re also lucky to have a fantastic landlord.
The practice is set up with four surgeries – two on the upper floor which are currently open and an additional two on the lower floor, which we’ll be opening once we have finished recruiting the rest of our team. We have a large reception area, decon room, staff areas and space for a second reception area on the lower floor if we need it.
When it came to the design, I was recommended the interior design team at Walker Malagoni by one my friends, also a fellow dentist. Walker Malagoni had designed her practice in Battersea and I loved its boutique hotel style.
I wanted a similar luxury feel for my practice and the style of the clinic is definitely luxurious – from the parquet flooring and bespoke lighting, to the gold accents featured throughout – from the sockets to the hand dryer. To promote a feeling of openness in one surgery, we used an artificial skylight to great effect. It helps create a focal point as well as increase the level of light.
Apollo Interiors – Islington Smiles, Islington 8th June 2022
For the build, we only had Apollo Interiors in mind. We had used them for a smaller project on our Battersea clinic and they had also fitted out my friend’s practice that I liked so much.
Our whole fit out experience was excellent. I had some experience of working with other fit out companies in the past, but working with Apollo Interiors and their project manager, Andrew, introduced me to a whole other level of service – a complete turnkey experience. If any problems arose, Andrew confidently suggested and implemented solutions rather than look to me for guidance. He made the whole process very straightforward and I have already recommended the Apollo team to others for their clinic build.
Our new website is still in production and we’re waiting until we’ve finished recruiting before we do a big marketing push. However, once we’ve completed our team we’ll be focusing on our social media.
I’m so pleased with our new practice and the way it’s turned out. We have had so many compliments. If I could have done anything slightly differently, I probably would have had certain materials ordered in more quickly – we had to change our flooring last minute due to supplier and Brexit issues which caused a few delays. However, this was a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. Islington Smiles has precisely the boutique look and feel that I was hoping for, as well as provides a great working environment for our team. I love it!
Companies involved in the project
Interior design – Walker Malagoni
Build – Apollo Interiors
Dental equipment provider – Henry Schein
Practice Management System – SOE
Website developer – Digimax