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When You Need More than a Dentist

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Credit: Paul Verge

With his pioneering and fast-growing practice, Dr. Bobby Birdi brought specialties in periodontics and prosthodontics under one roof

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the revolutionary dentistry business model governing the BC Perio Dental Health and Implant Centre, which so many British Columbians rely on for their dental needs, was created thanks to the powerful vision and considerable tenacity of Dr. Bobby Birdi – as well as a passion that has informed him since his youth.

The Edmonton-born Birdi is one of North America’s very few Certified Dual Specialists in periodontics and prosthodontics, and he says of his childhood, “I wanted to become dentist because I liked working with my hands and making things, but also enjoyed helping people with their health. My parents were definitely my inspiration to work hard and achieve whatever I could. They were amazing.”

During his schooling and six years of two residencies in the U.S., Birdi became interested in how dentistry was delivered to the public. Specifically, he noted that if clients had multiple needs that required different skillsets, they would be referred to specialists. “That was fairly common, and it struck me that this was inefficient both for the client as well as the dentist,” he recalls.

Birdi moved to Vancouver in 2012 with the aim of providing an all-in-one, world-class dental service to customers. “I thought it was feasible because consolidation was happening in the medical field with great success. Combining different services and skillsets hadn’t yet reached the dentistry profession, and my idea was that if I could acquire several practices and combine them in a new facility, it would provide the public with a team of professionals instead of just one, a variety of services, and improved efficiencies overall.”

Birdi’s strategy for consolidation was to acquire the assets of older practices, and before long his search yielded three such practices on Broadway whose owners bought into the vision of providing a one-stop shop to the public.

BC Perio was born, but as far as Birdi was concerned this was only the foundation of his new company. In short order, he also developed an in-house digital lab (for three dimensional modeling), a testing and research centre, and many other components that would allow he and his colleagues to provide everything from surgical and periodontal procedures (including surgical laser techniques) to dental implants and cosmetic dentistry.

More acquisitions of dental practices followed. “This allowed me to open a satellite in Coquitlam,” says Birdi, who also strengthened the BC Perio brand by becoming a media celebrity of sorts, appearing on local television and social media channels to explain practices ranging from how 3D image scanning improves surgical outcomes to whether dental implants are superior to dentures.

The seemingly tireless Birdi and his colleagues also helped create the Digital Dentistry Institute, which is dedicated to training and guiding members of the dental profession in order to provide the highest possible quality of care in the field of advanced comprehensive dentistry and related fields (the institute is now a mainstay in nine countries globally).

Although Birdi, now 40, doesn’t often discuss it, the challenges in achieving all this were immense. “The biggest challenges were creating a culture in a practice that allows for full collaboration amongst all doctors and staff,” he says. “It was also tough to break the mold of being a full service clinic while still accepting referrals for joint treatment. Plus, it has taken a lot of time and effort to build a brand name that is recognized in the community.”

Birdi goes on to note that “The loss of time and the subsequent earnings is something that may never be recuperated, but the journey and final result was well worth it. Another challenge that is on going is that as a specialist you are thought of as an expert in your field, and that requires being up to date on all new innovations and treatment modalities. This can be daunting at times.”

So how does Birdi sustain the stamina required to keep his company on the cutting edge of dental care? “Sometimes I wonder,” he laughs, and then he pauses to consider the element that motivates him the most. “Maybe it’s a cliché to say that it’s inspiring to watch people visit us with serious dental issues and leave a short time later being able to smile, chew, and speak comfortably, but that’s exactly what it does – inspires me to do more and do better.

“Technology is really taking dentistry to the next level, and it’s enormously fulfilling to work with colleagues who can pass along its amazing benefits to clients.”
As for the future of BC Perio, Birdi is already preparing to expand into other parts of Metro Vancouver. “We’ll acquire more practices,” he says. “These are exciting times for my colleagues and I, and we look forward to providing even more services throughout the Lower Mainland.”

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Created by BCBusiness in partnership with BC Perio