When Violeta Claus sat down to eat at Luxembourg’s Last Supper restaurant in 2009, she knew the grand building in which it’s situated would make an ideal location for a luxury clinic.

The stars aligned for Violeta, and her Vio Life clinic is among the most impressive around. 

In this week’s episode, Violeta tells Payman and Prav how it all began, discussing the highs and lows of practice in one of the EU’s smallest countries and her no-nonsense management style.



In This Episode

02.01 – Sociability

04.42 – Leaving Bucharest, discovering dentistry

16.57 – Vio Life

22.17 – Highs and lows

29.55 – Leadership

40.13 – Regulatory challenges

46.08 – Patient journey

59.23 – A-ha moments

01.04.50 – Curiosity and development

01.08.26 – Branding

01.10.55 – Black box thinking

01.17.49 – Plans

01.22.25 – Last days and legacy

01.25.53 – Fantasy dinner party


About Violeta Claus

Dr Violeta Bartalis Ép. Claus is the founder and principal dentist at Luxembourg’s luxury Vio Life Smile Design clinic. She is the chair of the European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry (ESCD) Study Club in Luxembourg and also leads a dental training academy.

It was like end of December coming back. We were just shopping for for the New Year’s Eve and coming back from the city on the Boulevard Avenue Kennedy, which is the main road to the centre. And I look at the left and I see a very nice restaurant. The name was The Last Supper, and I was with a friend and I said, Wow, look at that. It looks so fancy. Look at the lights. And people sit there in the lounge and drink champagne. Let’s go. Let’s go and have some champagne. And really, she said, come on, we have to go home to to prepare for tomorrow. And said, No, no, no, Let’s let’s go for a champagne. So and we went there and sit in this lounge, which was super modern. I think the architect, the interior designer was a designing opium in Barcelona or something like that. So really, really fancy. I look at there and I see the menu of the restaurant say, Well, what do you think if you go eat here for tonight because maybe tomorrow we don’t have a big, big party. So let’s go. It’s the 30th of December. Let’s celebrate the year and said, okay, let’s go have a menu. And sitting there drinking some champagne, eating fantastic food, seeing the people there, I told her, you know what? In this place here, I would really like to have a clinic. Like two, three weeks later, we go there and I sit at the first floor. It was something to rent. And in February I just signed a contract and it was in the same building. And I can tell you many things in my life happened. Like something from above came. You just have to wish.

This is Dental Leaders the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr. Violetta Klaus onto the podcast. Violeta I see as a social butterfly on the international lecture circuit who she absolutely knows. Everybody, When I see you, Violeta, you’re talking talking with all of the big guns and the fully connected in, you know, this podcast, we tend to start with a whole life story, but I’d like to start there. Violeta is also principal of the Violife Smile Design. Amazing practice in Luxembourg and The View Lifestyle brand, which I’d love to get into if you let, let’s welcome you. And are you a social butterfly in Luxembourg as well? Are you are you sort of part of the social scene in in touch with everyone or is it just in dentistry that you’re like that?

So first of all. Hi. Hi everybody. I’m really honoured to be here. I don’t know if in Luxembourg it’s starting now after 13 years maybe to get more known in the Social Network, but I think I can connect very fast. It’s a magnetic thing. So you attract people which are alike and sometimes same visions. And this is why everywhere I go I find people which I can talk to and get inspired and bring inspiration, of course, as well. What can I say? It’s just my nature.

Do you sort of take it back to something in your childhood or in your youth? Where did you talk to Loads of people And, you know, you couldn’t. You couldn’t. You couldn’t read the room.

Oh, no, no, no. As as a teenager, I was really very shy. Really? Yeah. Coming. I grew up in Romania, so I came from a little city, had a few friends. I was coming to Bucharest, which is the capital of Romania with 14, and I felt like, Oh my God, you’re in the big city. It’s terrifying. Everybody was, yeah, really very social, very everywhere. Dance parties. I was not really allowed to go out. So probably at one point I started to do it on my own as I came to Germany with 24 and in Luxembourg, I really started to enjoy that because here is a multicultural, multinational, very small country, a lot of languages, a lot of people from everywhere. And it’s really fascinating to communicate.

When did you know you were going to move from Romania?

Well, actually, I had an aunt in California. And my dream and my plan, the plan of my family was to go there when I finished dental school or when I finished university. But what happened was that I met a guy from Germany, so never wanted to go to Germany, never wanted to to speak German, but it happened. So we married 88 and 89. The first child came. Then I came to Germany. I was working there in a family practice.

And which town in Germany were you.

In three years? Three years is at the border to Luxembourg. So we had a lot of connection with Luxembourg. And I found this part of Europe very, very interesting. So after 20 years of dentistry in Germany, I decided to move to Luxembourg. This was 2009 and I never regretted that. Mm.

So when you look back as a child in Romania, your outlook was you were going to do dentistry in Romania and move. Did you know that you wanted to do that from the beginning? We’ve got loads of Romanians working in our company and massive asset they are to us too. But was it that time in the sort of political era that you thought you were going to move out or not?

Well, from one point moving out, it was just going with my whole family to to America. This was like, oh, that was the original. Yes. The three sisters, that that means my mum and her sisters. One sister was there. She moved in 72. The other one moved in 80. And the third sister. That means my mother, she just waited for me to finish school and to go there. The second part of the decision. So Dental school. It was not from the beginning, but it has a very interesting story because I was like nine years old. I was in primary school and I had an accident. So a colleague hunted me in the break and I felt on my central incisor and well, dentistry in Romania in the in the 80 seconds was super bad. I got a root canal very early. I lost my central incisor very early, and I spent a lot of time in the university for braces for really fixing my problem. And that time my stepmother, she was a dentist, my mother was a general. How do you say a family doctor? And I was very attracted to dentistry and I was there like days and days and years. I was in treatment. I was smelling that that smell of dentistry. And I hated that. I was really frightened and at that time I suffered a lot because losing a central incisor in your teenage time was traumatising.

And my biggest wish and vision was to develop a kind of dentistry which is focussed on aesthetics, on painless dentistry and dentistry, where you feel, where patient feel good and safe and to take care of. So this was the story behind dentistry. Of course, the idea of doing dentistry somewhere else was clear because at that time in the communist Romania, there was not a big chance to do aesthetic dentistry or to specialise in any way or in a in a short time. And this is why it happened to come to Germany. And I started directly, like 1991. I came to I started to work as a dentist and I started directly to make a lot of continuous education regarding veneers, adhesive dentistry, minimally invasive dentistry. And I think that until 97, I did many, many courses. I wanted to level up and to be better. Let’s say in Romania, dentistry was very good. We we learned diagnosis and we had practical exercises. So we started to work on patients in the sixth semester. But I felt that I’m missing the modern digital dentistry, the digital dentistry and everything. What would help me as well? Let’s say from my point of view, I wanted to find a solution and I found it for me and I found it for my patients as well.

And so at what point in that journey did you go from, say, working for other people to say, I want to run my own practice?

As I came to Germany. My husband’s father was the second generation of dentists and they already had a family practice. And a very funny thing is that his brother was studying in Romania as well. You know, both are Germans, but it was for them impossible to study in Germany because they didn’t have a very good note at the Abbey. How do you say when you finalised a school you need to be levelled to dentistry when you are very good in in in the last exams. So they found Romania as a very good way to study dentistry and they had to learn both of them Romanian, which was very hard. And so we met. That means that my future husband, his brother and his girlfriend were dentists. So as I came to Trier, it was like a family clinic with three chairs. It was five dentists. And for me it was very clear that we will not work together. And my husband opened a clinic in 1990. I came in 91. We already have had our first child. It was my son. And this first clinic was very, very small. It was 84 square metre and only two chairs, a little waiting room. And this was like the idea of his father that, well, she will come to Germany and she will just take care of kids cooking for you, doing like home.

You can’t imagine now seeing me. Well, and of course, 91 came and in 92, my second child came. It was the daughter. After three months of staying with her, I restarted work and we developed very, very fast. Three years later, we expanded the clinic from 84m² to 240 square metre. That means five treatment rooms and it went very well. So at the end I was never employed. I started as a self-employed with my husband in the clinic, but definitely both of us are very different, very different characters, personalities and it was a very difficult way to lead a team because if you do not have the same vision and the same way of thinking about dentistry, this leads to many issues. So patients said, Oh, we want to go to him because he’s just very, very conservative and he is able to compromise. I was a little bit more strict in my treatment planning and in discussing with them about long term solutions and most of them full mouth rehabilitations if was needed. That’s why at one point I decided I want to go my way and I left him with a clinic in Trier and I moved to 2009 in Luxembourg.

Wow, what a story. Wow.

That was the first going out of the country.

It’s the third country to be a dentist with.

How does it feel turning up in a country to be a dentist when you don’t speak the language? Or did you speak German?

Well, I learned German as I was six. I think my mother had a private teacher for me and I really hated the language that was so hard for me. I always had headaches or I didn’t feel well as the teacher had to come. Then I had it in the primary school like four years probably. My brain saved a few information from that language so that as I came to Germany and the family was German, and not only the family, but everything. I came from Romania and I found a new kind of living and a new mentality which I had to adapt to. And it was not easy, but I did. And I started to work as a dentist. And I felt that if I do not speak the language perfectly, I will have really problems to to do a consultation and a treatment options discussion with the patient. So I used the time being with the kids, with the babies at home. I used the time to learn German, not from a course. I learned it from television, reading books, reading magazines, watching movies so very fast. I can say I’m a very fast learner and I could speak German almost without flaw, and this was very good for me. So definitely the best decision to communicate is the language. The best tool to communicate is the language. So this was important for me. But coming down to Luxembourg, imagine that it was not only German and English.

I could speak Romanian because we have 2000 Romanians in Luxembourg and my first patients were British, so this was a different kind of treatment, I may say very challenging because. I noticed. Oh, they are totally different than the Germans, so they don’t look at me and wait that I say something and they are very communicative. And they were like, Oh, come on, Violetta, stop apologising. Apologising that my headpiece is not really correct. And if I’m okay, just do it. Yeah, you’re doing fine. You’re doing great. And this motivated me a lot. And at one point we were speaking four languages in the in the clinic because then the French people came and of course, they tried to speak English, but, well, I had to use a few words of French just to make them feel comfortable. And even Italians, I tried to speak Italian. You don’t need to be perfect, but I noticed that people were so happy just to hear you say something in another language in their mother tongue. And I was really tired in the evening switching languages because my team was combined English, German, our software was German. And so now, after 13, 14 years, we have a team where we speak 11 languages. Wow. And this is something outstanding. I think the biggest challenge in communication team development and yes, even patient communication or written patient communication in three languages is really challenging. But I love it.

It. These practices were your practice, the way it looks now. And I encourage anyone to go and have a look at how it looks because it looks amazing. Did it look like that from the beginning, or is that something that you did recently?

No, it’s like 2009. What we did recently, we just bought three new chairs. So this month we got three aksana from from Sirona, which are super beautiful and we just painted the walls now in another colour, this is everything but all the furniture. And the planning was like this from the beginning.

I mean, it’s such a beautiful practice. And now, now that you’re telling me you did that in 2009 when hardly anyone was doing anything cool in dentistry? Well, over here it might have been different in Luxembourg, but you’ve got like a I mean, another way of looking at things. It’s clear. I mean, me and Prav know how difficult it is to do good content. So look at your page and it’s just full of great content. And there must be like, what a team of people, you know, filming the whole time or how do you manage that? Are you the creative lead on that or is there someone else who’s directing all of that?

Yes, I have two accounts. What in on Instagram. One is Doctor Violetta account. This is my personal brand. Yeah. And just for your life, small design, which is our clinic, our team and I have two content creators and digital designers who are preparing the posts. But the videos which we are doing, it’s iPhone. So really iPhone really. And sometimes we have somebody to film like my my. Some movies are done by a film director from Hamburg, which is a friend of mine and the photos we the patient cases and the photos, they are done in our photo studio. My team is really trained to do perfect photos, the smiles and I like to show our cases. I do not like to show any any stock photos and something which doesn’t belong to us. And yeah, we love doing photos. We love doing videos. Sometimes just when we are in the mood in the clinic, we take our iPhone and we just. Yeah, take some.

When did you switch on to social media? Was it like, you know, because you’re like like me, you’re not digitally native, you know, you didn’t grow up with it. Do you remember a point when you realised that’s where I’m, I’m going to focus on that? When was that? Who influenced you?

Well, UK.


Uk dentist. Well, let’s say I was a little bit careful with that because as I came to Luxembourg in 2009, we are not even allowed to have a website which was looking somehow different and it was totally different than everywhere, even in Germany. And I started creating a website with, of course, a company and I was invited by our like your GDC person. So like the college medical, because they were really all the colleagues were really angry that I am doing marketing. The website was just about informing patient about our working hours, about our treatments and the benefits of the treatments. And we had like two, three years, a little bit of discussions here, but they stopped mocking me and it was a time I don’t remember now exactly. When I met Chris Barrow, it was Internet, it was YouTube. It was I was blown away seeing so many things about and watching his videos about marketing, about social media, about treatment, coordination and everything was was happening in the UK. I felt it’s totally different than Germany and it’s absolutely important and necessary at a certain level, of course. But I was starting doing coaching with Chris Barrow and with Laura Horton, so I am very influenced by the UK dentistry and I visited management courses in London. I was always in touch with, with London, with UK and as well learning a lot about entrepreneurship, about leading a clinic being, yes, a owner. And a principal dentist and trying to get associates and to teach them these kind of treating patients the new patient journey and all all I developed was based on my knowledge but as well a lot, which I’ve learned from Chris Barrow and Laura Horton.

Amazing. I’ve got a couple of questions for you, Violeta, and one of them comes through. We seem to have skipped a huge amount of detail from leaving Germany to landing in Luxembourg and then creating this super clinic as somebody who. Took that journey solo and created what you created, let alone, you know, doing it with a business partner or a team of people. You’ve done this by yourself. Just talk me through the steps of that process. What you went through the ups and there must have been some downs as well. What what were the really tough times during that journey? And were there ever any moments where you thought, What have I done?

Well, it’s a very, very good point because this is let’s say at the moment in my life when I knew I have a tough decision and I didn’t imagine it will be like that in three years. I already was working with patients from Luxembourg, patients who were working in Luxembourg, you know, the Frontaliers, which were earning a lot of money in Luxembourg, living in Germany, because it was more interesting and definitely cheaper. And I thought, Wow, I have these patients. They’re coming from Luxembourg here to to Germany. They are my patients. I’ll go there. They work all there in the banks and all the financial centre and it would be easier for them to come to me like in their break or so to have a cleaning or to have the work done instead of driving through the rush hour to Trier at at six, 630 in the evening, coming for a cleaning and sometimes being late. And my team was waiting, waiting, waiting. Yeah. The Luxembourgish guys are coming. They are in you know, and they have a traffic jam and. In my mind. I said, okay, I will search something, but it has to be in a place where I like. And it was very, very interesting because we were shopping in Luxembourg. I’m coming to Luxembourg City. It’s a beautiful city. You can go out, you can eat. There is a really fancy style. And it was like end of December coming back. We were just shopping for for the New Year’s Eve and coming back from the city on the Boulevard Avenue Kennedy, which is the main road to the centre.

And I look at the left and I see a very nice restaurant. The name was The Last Supper, and I was with a friend and I said, Wow, look at that. It looks so fancy. Look at the lights. And people sit there in the lounge and drink champagne. Let’s go. Let’s go and have some champagne. And really, she said, come on, we have to go home to to prepare for tomorrow. And said, No, no, no, Let’s let’s go for a champagne. And we went there and sit in this lounge, which was super modern. I think the architect, the interior designer, was a designing opium in Barcelona or something like that. So really, really fancy. I look at there and I see the menu of the restaurant say, Well, what do you think if you go eat here for tonight because maybe tomorrow we don’t have a big, big party. So let’s go. It’s the 30th of December. Let’s celebrate the year and said, okay, let’s go have a menu. And sitting there drinking some champagne, eating fantastic food, seeing the people there, I told her, you know what? In this place here, I would really like to have a clinic. And can you imagine that in January, like 2 or 3 weeks later, we go there and I sit at the first floor. It was something to rent. And in February I just signed a contract and it was in the same building. And I can tell you many things in my life happened. Like something from above came.

You just have to wish and it’s coming. And of course, you ask me about the difficult things. And that was the point I wanted to have that I went there, I saw this office, I saw the The view and I said, this will be my clinic. And of course, I was very new in Luxembourg. I was alone, as you say, and I didn’t know many, many things which are regulations or problems with the as a tenant building things. So that means that we just starting construction and we noticed there was no air conditioned and no heating in there so that at one point like 50 K additionally investment to build the air conditioned and then my not the landlord, I was a sub tenant and so he was bankrupt and he wanted from me 160 K because he said, well I built here everything and now you have to pay to me if you want to be there. And it was a lawyers and everything. What you cannot imagine what you go through without planning. And all my business plans and calculations were really in the first three months was disaster. And of course these patients who were supposed to come because they were working in Luxembourg could come to have the cleanings, have something done there, said, well you know, I rather be in traffic jam, but the cleaning in three years is like €20 cheaper. Okay so I couldn’t have the same price as in Germany. You can imagine the wages in Luxembourg are way higher. The rent and everything was way higher.

I had a new investment and my first two years in Luxembourg I stopped doing full mouth restorations once per month and I started with fillings. I was doing composite restorations like 80% of my time and it was super hard in the first two years to get to the level I had in three years. That means from the utilisation and the treatments, which really were good for the revenue. Yeah. And as well satisfying. This was a hard, hard part. And the second, let’s say the hardest part was the team building, because you needed to have somebody to understand English perfectly. I brought a dental assistants from Germany. They were as well now in traffic jam the other side, so they had to travel to to Luxembourg. They were one hour in a bus or in their car. They didn’t find a parking. They were tired. They wanted to go home. They didn’t want to have a break because otherwise they would be there 12 hours. And at 6:00 patient came. So now I would like to have a filling. And my assistant said, No, I’m sorry, but I have to go home, you know? And I was happy that was the first patient to do something in the day. So yeah. And yes, then teaching them the English way, the all the English content and how to talk to patients, which were totally different than in Germany. Team building was the hardest and it’s still the hardest part when you have a clinic with so many languages and yes, a high standard of dentistry as well.

Violetta As a as a leader, you know, somebody who’s leading your practice and your team having been through it, the difficulties and leading your team right now, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone, a prospective practice owner in terms of how to build a team or leadership advice? What would be your top three bits of advice? Managing people, Handling people.

Well, yeah, that’s the most important. I take first communication and of course for me it’s the language, but the language is not the most important. The most important is the attitude. If they do not understand my vision and they do not understand what we are doing there, they are not able to be in the team to find who is a team player. Sometimes it takes longer, but as a owner of a clinic you need to understand each person, the associate or the treatment coordinator or the. Untold numbers, but most of all the receptionist because they translate you to the patient and you can be the best in the room and can explain everything so they can really crash it and have a lot of time to discuss and to ask what they really want and have a test time. When you see maybe you you hire them to be a treatment coordinator, but at the end you see, well, they are a better dental assistant, dental nurse or maybe better in the reception. And then it’s better to ask if they are okay to change. And if they are not okay to change, they need to go.

What kind of a boss are you? Are you a strict boss?

I’m a very strict boss, yes. My people. So I have my my team. I have really people who who were in my team who left and came back. This is a good point. And they came back and they said, we know what we have here. You are really a bitch. So but you are one with a heart. So this is a bit different. They know that I really am very strict and consequent because I want a treatment to be smooth for the patient. I want them to learn. I want them to ask me when they need something. But when we are in the treatment room and they are doing the same mistake three, 4 or 5 times and I need to repeat that. And they know I’m not kind.

You say, because you want the best for the patient, but that could be delivered in a strict way or it could be delivered in a quite the opposite, right? I mean, you know what I mean. I want the best for my patient. I’m not a strict dentist at all. Quite the opposite. We all want.

That. We all want the best.

Yeah. Yeah. So what I’m saying is being being a strict boss is kind of. It’s in you somehow. Like, it’s not in me at all. Yeah, but. But it is. It’s in some people. Prav is a bit of a strict but Prav.

Yeah. Maybe. Maybe the word strict is has a different meaning.

Right now for me, strict is working with a protocol and checklists. This is a consequence. So having everything we need for the treatment, having the checklist and I really wanted to be prepared like that in the clinic is organised like that, but that doesn’t mean that they get.


We get a big discussion in front of the patient, but they feel exactly when something is missing or is not prepared.

You let them know properly. They know that I’m not.

Happy and they change it. If they don’t change it a few times, then I have to reconsider.

I think. I think when you said that if they and I kind of agree with what you said there in any any in any sort of role. Right. If they make the same mistake five, six, seven times, then you’re not kind. Yeah. And I think that comes to me it sounds like you’re you’re a take no shit kind of boss, right? That you have your thresholds and your limits. They’ve made the same mistake again, again and again. And enough is enough now, right?


When it gets to that point, Violeta and you, for me, I kind of make that decision instantly, right? So I’ve hired someone and there’s, there’s, there’s almost like that threshold. I can’t, I can’t put it into words, but that moment in time and it is literally a moment, I don’t want that person to work for me again. Okay. I know they’re out. Everyone has that. Do you. Do you have that? Do you have that? And then what’s what’s your when that happens, What’s your process? How long do you leave it? How long does it take? Do you have that conversation over and over again in your head? Or do you just go in like a bull in a china shop and say.

Oh, no, no, no, no. How would you do that.

To to yes.

There are two things. So I had people leaving, but they didn’t leave because I fired them. It was 1 or 2 who really decided at that point that they could go somewhere else because it was stressful or they didn’t feel really okay. And they told me that. And they said, You know, I really.

Need to try that, but please, I.

Love it here.

Anyway, if I would like to come back, would you take me back? So but I do not say that to everybody. It was.

Some employees which I.


Knew. They are very.

Good, but I felt they they are not. Not happy. And if they decide to go, they go. And if they decide to come back, we discuss and we see what are the conditions. And it happened two times for the others. Let’s say the new employees, they have a probation time of six months in Luxembourg. That means in the first five months we need to decide if they really are good for the for the job or not. And this is a discussion which is not.

It’s just, you know, would you like to.

Have something else? Would you like to do like.

You are not.

Trained or.

The role.

Of treatment coordinator, for example, we we we don’t think that you really fit in that position which you apply to.

But we, we appreciate you.

We see that you can do many, many other things. Would you like to do maybe reception or maybe to be a dental nurse? An assistant here is like that. They are trained for everything so they can choose. And if they say no, I don’t, then they have to go. But it has to do as well with the kind of attitude which we are observing. And, you know, this is not only my decision, I may say I always decide with the team, I always decide with the team, which is with me for years, and I can trust them because they feel if that person is really a team player, I cannot see it directly. Yeah, and I know that I can trust him as well because they really want help. They wouldn’t say, Oh no, we don’t like her, let her go. No, that’s not like that. We have a discussion about what are the plus, what is the.

What is the.

The pros and cons. Yeah.

In hiring, do you think you’re strong at seeing potential in someone when when you’re hiring? Yeah.

Yeah. Many times. Didn’t have a choice. Yeah.

Sometimes I had to hire somebody because there was nobody so many times I was applying in in the.

Uk because we really didn’t have anybody to for.

For a while. And the workforce problem in Germany and as well in Luxembourg.

Is, is very big. Yeah. At the end they have to have a.

Very high qualification imagine to to speak two three languages to come along with the software which we are working because it’s a complex software. I took this software with me from Germany. I changed, adapted this to the Luxembourg system. I translated letters and.

Everything in in.

2 or 3 languages in order to be able to print an invoice in English or in French.

So it was a bunch of work at the beginning.

And it’s as well a lot of.


I am.

Absolutely aware you cannot learn.

In five months. Definitely. But you see the rate of learning, You see the progress in in five months, definitely.

And you can say, okay.

How long.

Will it take? I am I do I want to.

Pay somebody for two years until they really are there?

And mostly.


Happens that they are there one year or two years and then, okay, the.

Babies are coming and they go and they are gone.

You spent I spent many, many months and years for.

People who left.

For maternity leave.

And some came back, some.


They as well move. You can imagine Luxembourg is a country. People as well move out of Luxembourg.

So it’s a bit difficult. But by now.

I have a very good team and some are in. I think we got.

Three babies in.

The last two years and our.

Hyginus is coming back now.

After the second baby end of April. And it’s.

Ezra Ralph.

She was a dental hygienist in London. She was working in some known clinics, and she’s with her husband now in Luxembourg. And she’s lovely and we’re happy to have her back.

So I’m happy with the core.

Of my team because I know I can rely on. And when we expand, we are a little bit careful that it’s somebody fitting in the team, completing the team and not bringing it apart.

My other question V letter that I had was I’ve been asked both in Germany and also more recently in France to either speak or assist with marketing and stuff like that. But while differences between the UK and Germany, I’m not so sure about Luxembourg. I wouldn’t know in terms of what you’re allowed to say. And you touched upon that earlier that you come here and you try and bring the UK way and you’ve had some some conversations with the equivalent of the GDC, with your with your advertising. I think I think I heard that correctly Anyway. Exactly. And I’m just really interested to learn what actually happened there because like, for example, I’m speaking later on this year in Paris for Clearcorrect. I had to send them my entire presentation and there were certain things that I weren’t wasn’t even allowed to mention or talk about. And it related to advertising, marketing, incentivisation offers, all of that. And I had to really get creative with my presentation to try and get the same same points across. Right? And I’m really interested to learn how, first of all, the challenges that you’ve faced, both both in Luxembourg and Germany and how you overcame them because because it sounds like to me you kind of and I might be wrong that you kind of broke the rules a little bit and so what happened? And tested the water and then and then see see how far you can push the envelope. And I can see you laughing and smiling now. So. So I’m hoping I’ve guessed right. I just want to learn about what you’re what challenges you faced.

Yes, of course.

I think there’s always.

Somebody who is, let’s say, breaking the rules.

Or trying something new because.

We think we.

Are in. Right. To inform the patient. And in Germany, it was easier.

And I remember many, many years ago, it was like probably 25 years ago, one colleague from Trier, exactly the city where I was, was the first to go on Internet.

To have a website to sell toothpaste.

And he got real problems. He was many, many trials and he ended up really broken. And I think as well for him was the end of the career at the at one point. But he opened our doors. That means from that point we could have a website and we said, Oh my God, look at his website. Everything what you read.

On each page is because.

Of the trial number, blah blah. I am not.

Allowed to say anything.

So we are not allowed to say anything because he lost. But then.

He won.

It was too late for him.

But it was for us. Good. So this I’ve learned.

I never.

Discussed about fees.

Or selling.

Things in Luxembourg because of course this is still forbidden. The social media and Instagram is something coming up probably.

I was.

One of the first.

Here and now I.

See so many colleagues.

Having amazing.

Instagram profiles.

And clinic.


And I think there is one who can who is courageous.

Enough to make the move.

And then the others are waiting, watching, you know, how do you say stalking you? And that’s that one point I noticed. Nothing happens. And they start like very, very a little bit to put something on their Instagram. And then more and more and more. And so in the last one year I saw definitely very good Instagram and social media.

Presence as well.

In Luxembourg YouTube website. It is definitely different than 13 years ago as I as I did my first, and I’m very proud of that because what is the point? We are specialised, we are doing good dentistry, we want our patients to come into the door and know exactly what they what are they expecting. And if I am the.

One who.

They like. Maybe, you know, they.

Wait two months for.

An appointment. They come say, Oh, God, I don’t even like her, you know, But so they have the chance.

To meet me before they come.

They have the.

Chance to be interested in what I’m doing.

And to ask for it. This is for us as well in the patient consultation, big time gain, because.


Don’t do 1 to 1.

Consultation on.

Veneers and explain from the beginning what is a veneer. They know already, what is Invisalign, what are veneers? And this.


Each of us. They have very high costs. So we want to to save the time.

And to inform the patient as much as possible so.

That they come and have the wish list.

And of course, they need consultation explanation, definitely.

But it’s so important and nobody can say this is forbidden because now we read about everything in Internet, about all all the reviews for something we buy or want to go in vacation, hotels, restaurants.

Why not for dentists.

Let’s say, you know.

Francis Sorry. And just to finish for Prav. Yes.

In France.

Let’s say they are the Leaders.

So Luxembourgish was always a bit French system.

And I think there is a little bit more difficult because it’s a bigger country and here it’s easier to to go near to the border.

But Violetta, what I was going to say, you know what comes to mind when you say that? Of course, I remember back just before I qualified, you couldn’t advertise in the UK either, and it felt arcane and it felt wrong and all that. On the other hand, sometimes the pendulum swings too far the other way. And one of the nice things about, let’s say not having Instagram dentistry is that you have to really focus on good old traditional blowing the socks off your patient, you know, like word of mouth, good old word of mouth. And and I know, I know Prav is going to tell me, Look, you can’t have a successful clinic without both. I get that. Yeah, but the purity of word of mouth means that you’ve got to make a patient journey in your practice. That’s guess, you know, memorable. It’s got to be something that people feel. You know, if you’re doing big cases, people feel like they’re finally jumping in. It’s a big, big step, you know, going for a full mouth rehabilitation or even Invisalign or whatever it is. What are your just like he asked you about your three big tips on managing staff. What are your big tips on patient journey? Um, you know, is it do you have tactics or is it are you just yourself and you’re listening and, you know, the whole thing. Patient journey. Give us some tips. Okay?

Okay. Yes. Um, patient journey.

Um, I do not know. I have the the feeling that everybody should do the same. I always thought I’m doing what others are doing. So for.


In Luxembourg.

And for for our team.

Word of mouth is very important. Think about the 600,000 people living here. And I can tell you the Luxembourgish, it’s not a I think it’s.



Is Luxembourgish, the rest are foreigners.

And word of mouth is I think more more important than than everywhere because people know each other, they live together, they go eat together. So if you are really doing something good, they hear and they want to come. But if you do something bad or if.

If you have.


Failure, this is very bad for you. And even if it’s not a failure from.

The medical.

Point of view, from the clinical point.

Of view. So I was from the beginning aware that here I have to be good, I have to be transparent, I.

Have to.

Explain what I’m doing to.


What is necessary to hear what they.

Want from me, but.

As well to notice that it is a lot. They were not educated about like for example, a gum.

Disease that was that is something.

Which was.



Something. They knew what that means. So we started at a at a.

Basic level of communication.

Explanation before starting to discuss about.

Implants or veneers or Invisalign.

So that’s why I developed the new patient journey. In that way, we are sending a questionnaire where we find out.


Is their main concern.

So before they they enter the office, they fill out a questionnaire. There. And when they come in, I know a little bit about them. We have a little telephone interview. Of course, when we get them at the phone.

Sometimes we don’t.

And most they come. Yeah.

Yes. Before they.

Come. So to.

Explain how to find.

A clinic, to ask again, what are the main concerns and what how are they recommended and so on.


As well, this is a filter for the patient.

So they know.

My, my, my front desk team knows if it’s a patient interested in aesthetics or wanting to come to.

Me or is a patient who is.

Interested in implants and needs to see the implantologists or it’s just an.

Emergency patient. Yeah. Then we know how much time we.

We plan for this.


We send a letter where they know exactly what we’ll do in the first.

Session and.

How long time it takes, because most.

Of the patients were used to go.

To the dentist like ten, 15 minutes, check it a little bit and then say goodbye. And when they come to us and we do an intraoral scan, we do interior, we do extra photos, we do probably an x ray as well if it’s needed, if they don’t have a new one. And we take our time to.

Sit down with.

The with Itero scanner.

And to explain.

And to have a risk assessment, we cannot say in the first session directly the.

Whole treatment.

Plan and give.

An estimate.

But they have an idea.

About treatment steps.

And 99% start with the with the dental cleaning.


They are informed that we are taking photos because we had many.


As I thought, yeah.

It’s normal. We do photos and patient.

Comes please go do photos through x ray. And so they were sitting there and the photos say, No, I’m not here.

For the magazine, I’m not at the.

Vogue, what are you doing with me? So they were really uninformed, was very bad. So we.

Informed, I think, the information about what’s going on and as well.

The let’s say the option that they choose a very normal short check-up or a comprehensive check-up is very important. So and the second is.

Really to sit down because before.

Entering the.

Mouth with any scanner or.

Dental mirror.

Is just to sit down for five minutes.

And ask them how they come to me and.

How do they know the clinic and just have a.


Just a normal chat.

Not where are you coming from? Oh yeah, I’m coming from.

Greece and oh yeah, that’s so nice there. And so a little bit of chat. I think this time is very, very important.

And what are you doing? You’re building rapport at that point, right? You’re trying to see if you like them and if they like you sort of thing.

Yeah. You feel if it’s a patient, I of course you need to be as well to take your time, be empathic in the moment. You’re not a machine to do the same all the time. I cannot give a recipe for that.

But I am there.

I’m communicating and I feel okay. I know how much information the patient needs, how much information they don’t.

Want to hear. And I feel directly.

If they.

Are anxious, not.

Interested or even don’t getting it. So it happens as well.

So you’re gauging all of that. Yeah. And so. So then keep going. Keep going. Yes.

And then you’ve done the.

Preamble, you’ve called them, they’ve come, you’ve told them what to expect. All of that is very different. Right. Very few practices do that. Did you learn that from Laura Horton or did you just make it up yourself?

I think as well From Chris Barrow. Chris Barrow Yes. Yes. But I did in Germany the same.

It was like my feeling that I need to know the patient who’s coming into my chair and I don’t want to enter his private sphere. So going in.


Mouth without.

Seeing his eyes and knowing who he is and.

Who she is, all this.

That was important.

For me to to to get the feeling of who are you? Who are you? That’s important and for sure as well to see who am I?

And before giving to my treatment coordinator or my dental assistant.

To start with the photos. Well, sometimes.

I do myself the extra photos because the studio are so my my office in photo studio are the same room. So we sit there at the at a nice table.

Maybe you see it on social media as like the white table with the big screen.

And on my screen is I have a photo.

Gallery with nice smiles. So they say it somehow.

It’s a kind of of subliminal getting used to what is going on here. And I am watching their.

Reaction when they see very weighty. So. You know, it’s just very interesting when they look at that way. No, no. This is no Hollywood patient and no Hollywood smile here. And then we do the the extra photos first.

So they get used to that.

We talk, we chat in the meanwhile, and the treatment coordinator is there with us and takes them in the room and is doing the the scan. Sometimes we do internal photos as well.

When there is directly clear.

What are we having going to do? But the INTRAORAL scan is enough for the first comprehensive consultation.

And we don’t want to.

To bug them too much with the with the mirrors, with the retractors.

And and anything.

But when they.

Come with a specific wish of.

Dental aesthetics or Invisalign, then we do some close ups.

Violeta how do you handle it when a patient in the preamble tells you, Yeah, I’m just here for a Check-up But then when, when you, when you do the exam you realise, look, this guy could or this, this patient could really benefit from much more involved treatment. Do you, do you bring that in after you’ve done the initial cleaning phase and all of that stuff? Do you do you hint at it? How do you manage that situation?

Well, we we are not taking patients.

Who are not going.

Through a prevention treatment and going only for repair and.


That that’s we that’s not our.

But let’s let’s say they want they tell you on the phone, look, I want to come I want I want to have the hygiene. I want to have a general check-up. I’ve got no no ambitions for a beautiful smile or or whatever. You know, they’re not they don’t want to get involved in big treatment. But then you see you see that they would really benefit from either aesthetics or functional work. How do you introduce it in?

So it’s like that.

When the patient is coming for a general normal check-up and cleaning, then.

Definitely they get that. They get the check-up, they get a cleaning and our dental hygienist is doing a scan. Very easy. Has an internal camera. Very easy. And then it is their work to sensitise the.

Patient to come.

To me for a comprehensive consultation.

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