Day spas. Med spas. Injectables and fillers. Plastic surgery retreats. Much of the world and certainly California has seen health, wellness, and beauty trends from basic to ultra-transformative. But interestingly, one aesthetic specialization has been left out, even in luxury meccas such as Manhattan, Beverly Hills or the Bay Area – dentistry.
There are dental clinics that specialize in transformative treatments, of course, such as implants, veneers, orthodontics, but the atmosphere tends to border on the clinical and there isn’t a full-service, holistic approach. Dental services – with its association with pain, a cold, sterile surroundings – is one of the treatment areas that would benefit from an extreme makeover.
Swiss husband and wife team Riccardo Meili, COO, and Zahra Eram, CEO, recognized this niche was lacking worldwide so they combined their expertise to launch Eram Dental Health Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland, seven years ago. One visit to the website and it’s clear this is a new approach to dentistry that showcases the health, beauty and well-being. The clinic, which looks more like a spa, offers treatments as basic as x-rays and hygiene to radical transformation that includes complete smile makeovers, dental implants, plastic surgery and general medical aesthetics.
“What makes us one of the world’s-leading aesthetic dental clinic is that we create every element for the well-being of our patients,” Meili says. “We take a holistic approach and everything you see, hear, smell and even taste – as we have our own mouthwash – is unique to us and designed to provide a relaxing, enjoyable experience for our clientele.”
Meili is a former professional soccer player and private banker. His wife, Zahra has been working at major dental clinics for 16 years. Between them both, they speak 13 languages and creating a destination that will be a draw for medical tourism was top of mind when they developed their concept.
“We examined every detail of our offerings to craft and test to the highest of standards,” Meili says. “Then we added our customer-service element. The patient should never feel like it’s a medical institution where you smell disinfectant and hear drills, which everyone is afraid of. We want them to think, as they’re walking out, ‘I can’t wait to come back. When can I come again?’”
Full service does not just mean that someone welcomes you and guides you through your procedures. Every patient has a relationship manager, who helps them from the point of choosing a procedure. This can include booking flights and hotels to arranging daytrips for the family while the patient is at the clinic. They even have their own chefs who create food plans to match the procedure done, whether is a soft or liquid diet, etc.
All of this lends to it being an in-demand medical tourism destination, which has been slowed some with the pandemic but has also seen business growth in other ways.
“We specialize in high-end treatments to attract patients from not just Switzerland but Europe, Asia, the Middle East, New York, and we have many patients from California, especially the L.A. area,” Meili says. “This clientele trusts Switzerland’s reputation as being on the medical forefront and we are proud to be part of that. If they travel here for dentistry, they want to experience the highest-quality medical treatments combined with exclusive customer service.
Meili and Eram set very high standards for recruitment, wanting to ensure every professional who works for them exudes their clinic’s brand. Each doctor has more than 15 years’ experience and is a master in the fields of dentistry, dental technician or plastic surgery. There are more than 15 languages spoken by the staff, which helps put clients at ease.
“We evaluate what is good for our patients and that concept has guided us as we hired for each position, starting with the receptionist up to the master oral surgeon or the master in aesthetic dentistry, plastic surgery or master dental technicians for their own in-house dental lab,” Meili says. “We sought those who were the very best in each field.”
A concept such as this seems like it would be rife for expansion and that was the plan, pre-pandemic.
“We’ve been approached frequently with offers, particularly in the Middle East,” Meili says. “We have plans to go to the U.S. on both the East and West Coasts. Everything is in a pipeline and we are still in the in-evaluation phase. We need to determine where to go and which regions are the most ideal. Of course, the unfortunate situation of the pandemic makes it extremely difficult to anticipate what’s going to happen in the very near future. It’s all in the planning stages and we’re waiting till the whole situation gets a bit smoother before we start making our moves.”
The pandemic spurred business in ways he hadn’t anticipated. When people abruptly started working from home and doing video conferencing, the experience of seeing oneself on camera for hours a day made many people realize they wanted to work on their appearance.
“We weren’t really anticipating that but people were seeing themselves on camera all day and we got overran with calls,” he says. “It was very interesting how this mindset changed. You think because they aren’t seeing others in person, they’d be less aware but they were seeing themselves with a frequency you don’t have in a conference room meeting, for instance.”
Another timely issue that helps drive business is the rise in online influencers, particularly those using YouTube, Tik-Tok and Instagram. Their appearance drives their brand and with close-up selfies and video, the better their teeth and face, the more relaxed they can be speaking to a camera at very close range.
“We have many patients coming from California, in particular,” Meili says. “Sportspeople, movie stars, singers and so on. What we have in Switzerland is something they can’t find there. We offer extreme value and we’ve made it into a fashion, a lifestyle. We want people to be happy and the transformations are unbelievable – it doesn’t just affect their face and smile but their self-confidence, how they speak, and how they relate to people. It has a major impact in their lives.”
A pricelist, available at Eram Dental Health Clinic, touches on basic services that is in line with United States expenditures. Prices are in Swiss francs but the exchange rate at time of publication is 1 CHF to $1.09 USD. Financing is offered.
Copyright © 2022 California Business Journal. All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you’d like an article written on your business: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / 949-648-3815
Copyright © 2022 California Business Journal. All Rights Reserved.
Contact us if you’d like an article written on your business: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / 949-648-3815