Dr Maresela Morales, from Sunset Dental Cancun, based in Cancun, Mexico. She talks to Somnowell Marketing Founder Loren Simon about how technology is shaping the future of dentistry in Cancun, Mexico.
Why did you become a dentist?
Dr Maresela Morales: The sister of my mother was a dentist. She has their own office very near to my house. When the moment arrived for make the decision about what to be – ‘What do you want to do all of your life?’ – it was hard. I said, ‘Well, maybe lawyer’. But it never worked. Then I went to the psychology side, and then to the dentist university. I said, ‘Wow, that is it, this is for me’.
I love being with the patients. The moment I started I knew it was for me.
What are the biggest marketing challenges that you face and how do you deal with them?
Dr Maresela Morales: Halve of my productive life, I was in Europe. I worked in France and there it’s impossible to market, because it’s illegal. When I was arriving here seven years ago, it was like, ‘What do I have to do?’ I didn’t know anything about it.
I learnt about marketing. I think the most difficult moment in marketing is learning about it and understanding everything. After that it was easier.
Loran Simon: There’s a real duality within being a provider of the service – especially a medical service – and the challenge of how to understand the need and how to do the marketing. There’s a real conflict there and I think that’s the same for every business.
Dr Maresela Morales: Yes. In the past I wanted to be a psychologist. But I love the work I do with my hands. In dentistry, you have these two options: you hear the patients and you have a relationship with your patient, but you also work with your hands. It’s like the artistry with psychology. That is the reason I love it.
Marketing has changed considerably, especially in the past 10 to 15 years. What does this mean for dentists? And is it easier or harder?
Dr Maresela Morales: It’s very easy now to give a message to your patients, because of social media. Websites – and all the technology you have to connect with people make it easier now. But then you also have the other side, like the patient who comes here because it’s a very good option and he knows everything. It’s very hard to say, ‘Hey, wait a minute’.
Sometimes patients are not happy. Sometimes it’s not because of your work because, it’s something else. It’s difficult to have an approach and equilibrium.
I think it’s amazing, the marketing, the digital marketing, the communication now. I can imagine all the advantages that you have with that. But you have the other side that is not very nice. But it’s happening and the work is changing like this, so we have to work in this way.
And a lot of marketing terminology and things we don’t know. We work with the marketing agency, a digital marketing agency. There are young people and they talk to you like… I don’t know what – like it’s in another language. You have to ask for them to explain.
What role does cosmetic dentistry play in your practice today? And what do you think the future holds?
Dr Maresela Morales: In the past, it was more like aesthetic. But now, it’s more. There’s beauty, but we can never forget function. It’s the base of all of that, is the function.
I see all my patients like a cosmetic dentistry prospect. Maybe they have a big problem, like a full-arch that you have to work with. We make a diagnosis and all the procedures to perform a good treatment plan, but everything is guided by the end – that is cosmetic dentistry. But first always is function. Eating, living, smiling. Be comfortable with no pain. That is very important.
In reality there is a big challenge – it’s how to copy what’s natural. ‘Natural’ it’s always more like you. But creating that is a challenge. You have to respect the body. Beauty is very different for everybody, but if you respect the nature of everybody, I think. That is beauty.
How do you manage the dual roles of being a respected dentist and business owner? What tips do you have for other dentists that are starting out?
Dr Maresela Morales: I think the most important is discipline, because you have to know that when you are with your patients, you are a doctor; you’re a dentist, but when you are not in the mouth of your patients, you have to schedule every week, like one or two hours for administration.
Sometimes you only see like a little problem, but then you say, ‘Wait a minute, that is not the problem’. It’s important to be here and to have a perspective on the numbers – the administration side of the business. It’s the most important thing.
Then the organisation has to be effective in its scheduling and the role and activity for every person in your team.
Then, I think the most important thing is the communication between all the people that you work with. And then, well you have your life. I have a children; I have a husband; I have my mother, too. You need to take some time for your children and for your family.
What do you think about the future of dentistry in Mexico?
Dr Maresela Morales: Mexico is a very big country with a lot of security and economical problems. But dentistry in Mexico will grow. It will become much better, because we have a lot of universities and a good level of education, too.
It’s important to always have the opportunity to learn. We also have great opportunities to access technology. I think dentistry, not only in Mexico but around the world, is going to be changed by technology. But you can never lose the human side, because our skill is to help people to be in healthy.
Technology is not there to help you be a much better dentist. In reality, you have to learn to be a good dentist, and then you can be helped by technology.