The Dundee dentist ‘influencing’ the next generation
Published on 18 October 2021
Lee Strachan talks the impact of Covid-19 on his practice, the influence of Instagram and keeping in touch with the University.
Lee Strachan has been a good friend to the University in recent months - participating in the Reach programme and delivering an Entrepreneurial Masterclass for the University's Centre for Entrepreneurship.
Graduating from Dundee with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2004, Lee is Practice Owner at Union Street Dental Care in Dundee. Via Peru and New Zealand, local lad Lee has come full circle back to Dundee.
“I knew I wanted to study dentistry and that I didn't want to travel too far. I applied to Dundee, Glasgow and Newcastle and genuinely got the best feeling from Dundee when I went to visit. I had actually attended the dental hospital as a patient when I was a child and always thought I could see myself there. The Dundee Dental School has a really tight knit community so I quickly went on to make some really good friends.
“I did my vocational year in Kirkcaldy but returned to general practice in Dundee with Union Street, my practice now. I was there for two or three years before my wife graduated in physio and we decided to travel. We did a charity project in Peru for a month, treating people on the Amazon. I then went into general practice in New Zealand for slightly over a year. That was my sabbatical before I came back to Union Street and became a partner.”
Lee has now been practice owner for almost 10 years and has never encountered such a challenging time in dentistry as the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was really tough when we started with all the PPE in the summer of 2020 and trying to do treatment. Dentistry has been very good to me but that was the first time I didn’t enjoy it. We just had to find a way to make it work which we did. I'm now only doing three clinical days, they are long days but I am able to treat a patient and move to another surgery and treat another patient. It's just been adapting to find a way that works. I thought some people would be very anxious about leaving the house to come into a clinical environment but we've remained unbelievably busy.
“Keeping the patient safe and the practice buoyant financially and sticking to those parameters has been our goal during the pandemic.”
Indeed, by embracing Instagram in the past 18 months or so the practice has certainly been buoyant with new patients.
“During lockdown I was asked by a company called Brow Jam to do an Instagram Live with her. It came through word of mouth, she had been referred to me from Beam Orthodontics. She wanted to share my story and on back of it we got a few hundred follows on our account. I thought, wow, the effect from one interview is huge!
“Our Instagram presence has been driven mainly by the young females in my practice who have said that’s where they get all their influences from and saying all the things we need to do – taking more photos to post on social media. The amount of interest we’ve had on Instagram has been incredible.
“It’s a massive forum and the work has kept on coming through from it. I've done all different types of marketing sporadically over the years but it's very difficult to work out how much you get back from it. It was so easy to put before and after photos on Instagram and see the impact. It's easy marketing and you're in control of it yourself.”
Lee believes the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in cosmetic dentistry.
“I think during Covid people have wanted to make themselves feel better in some way and with being in lockdown for so long perhaps had more of a disposable income so decided to get their teeth done. We’re hugely reliant on people spending money on routine dentistry. But we are now seeing a lot of younger people looking for tooth whitening and composite bonding, which are fairly minimally invasive but make your teeth look nice.
“But it’s not just younger people, I had a lady who is 78, she came in for a check up and I asked how everything was. She said she had no issues but her tooth had really been annoying her on Zoom calls!
I've seen her for 15 years and she's never mentioned it but I gave her the options open to her.”
Earlier this year Lee shared his journey from student to business owner as part of the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship new series of Entrepreneurial Masterclasses. More recently he inspired high school pupils through the Reach programme, designed to educate, encourage and empower pupils from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds to pursue future careers in the ‘high demand professions’ including Dentistry, with his own story.
“To give a little something back is nice. I got a lot from the University so if you get the chance to give back and if your story helps one person going forward then it’s worth it.”
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