Dr. Ihab Hawary - Owner, Art of Dentistry Institute

Dr. Emil Hawary, DDS, is a renowned cosmetic dentist and founder of the Art of Dentistry Institute in Irvine, California. From the beginning of his practice, he committed himself to staying at the top of his field. He is a life long learner dedicated to staying at the forefront of the best strategies and new technologies for creating beautiful smiles for his clients.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and both a Diplomate and a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. His cosmetic and reconstructive cases are featured in The Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, the Journal of California Dental Association, American Journal of Esthetic Dentistry, e-journal of Dentistry and Inside Dentistry.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

I have a real passion for helping people to achieve a beautiful smile.  Cosmetic dentistry gives me the opportunity to help people to be their best and feel good about their smiles. I love the opportunity to work with my patients to develop customized treatment plans that give each patient the best on all levels.

How do you make money?

We provide dental services for the whole family and include procedures such as Invisalign, veneers, bonding, onlays, whitening, periodontics services, implants, restorative measures, partials and dentures, root canals, crowns and bridges, and pediatric dentistry. Once major work has been completed, I continue to review and maintain patients’ dental health. My patients trust me to recommend the services they need and to provide quality service every time. That results in repeat business and revenue.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

The initial outlay in a practice like ours is considerable but we created a talented team and developed a vision for our services, created a plan and followed it.  We were profitable within the first five years.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to help people gain their confidence through beautiful smiles.  Initially, it was a question of making sure that I could provide the best cosmetic dentistry possible.  To make sure that I could do that, I began, and continue to, participate in numerous postgraduate educational courses and advanced programs throughout the US to learn from the masters in all aspects of dentistry.

How did you get your first customer?

My first client was a close friend who wanted to see me succeed.  I told everyone I knew that I was starting my practice with the intention of focusing on word-of-mouth marketing from the very beginning. I was committed to being in front of as many people as possible and providing the best service possible once I got a new patient in the door.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

I agree that referrals are very important. Our team collects video testimonials from our clients and post them on our website so that prospective clients have the opportunity to hear from current clients early. I also depend on outside parties to judge my work so that I can demonstrate my abilities compared to others in the field then publicize my success. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) recently awarded me multiple gold medals for entries in the annual Smile Gallery Competition.  I competed with AACD members from 60 countries. The AACD is the only authority in credentialing and continuing education in cosmetic dentistry.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

Our team is very important to the success of our business.  Our patients rave about the care that they get from our staff.  When we hire a team member that turns out not to be a great fit with our culture, we have to make the tough decision about keeping that person and trying to mentor him or her or letting them go.  That’s an issue that has come up.  Fortunately, not very often.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I’m committed to continuing education and staying on top of new technologies. By continuing to learn, completing postgraduate courses and advanced programs, I have mastered all aspects of dentistry so that I can use my training and knowledge to treat even the most demanding dental situations.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

I was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, only the 60th dentist in the world to receive this status.  I’m the first Fellow in Orange County and the only Fellow in Irvine.  The fellowship recognizes outstanding skills in cosmetic dentistry.  I’m proud of this accomplishment and what it means for my ability to serve my patients.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about the growth of our business.  In the future, we will continue to promote our services by reaching out to new clients through a mix of marketing strategies that get us in front of people unhappy with their smiles and their looks. We build trust with our patients from their first visit which keeps them returning.

What business books have inspired you?

What are you most proud in your practice?

I’m most proud of the responses we get from our patients. They recognize how talented, professional and welcoming the staff is and how we work to make sure that they are relaxed and comfortable.  Our patients often remark how they much they disliked visiting the dentist in the past but have found real comfort in working with us.  Many of our patients initially come to us for basic dental care and return for years to come. It is our privilege to give them their best smiles.

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