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Building (Unique) Walls Within a City—Not Around It.

Articles, Practice Life

Hailing from the hills of Montana, one might not immediately expect someone like Dr. Dannica Brennan to choose the life of a “city folk.” But after spending three-and-a-half years stationed in Tampa at Macdill Air Force Base, Dannica indeed fell in love with a Floridian city. Before coming to Tampa with the Air Force, Dannica had recently completed dental school and a year-long residency at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), in 2018.

Right off the bat, Dannica opted for the startup route. Interestingly enough, her own mother was her interior designer, thinking up how Dannica’s new office should look from top to bottom. While Dannica and her team had fun assuming the role of the general contractor, her mom kept pointing them toward her vision of more of an “uppity” feeling—and Dannica couldn’t agree more with her mom’s vision.  After all, Dannica realized, every patient is afraid of the dentist. They come into an office afraid of pain and discomfort only to see white walls and people fidgeting in a lobby as they wait to get called up to the plate, one at a time. Wouldn’t a more “uppity” vibe help eliminate those counteracting and common clichés?

Dannica wouldn’t settle for a typical dental practice. After driving through Tampa for a few years, Dannica realized how much she enjoyed the murals, messily scattered throughout the area. As she came to appreciate how good it felt to stare at all of these artworks on the way in, she soon realized that she could create the same effect for her patients. While many dental offices pride themselves on putting up a picture, an inspiring quote, or even some practice values for their dental team, Dannica decided to take things a step further.  Even better, Dannica was keen on a certain chemistry: She knew that both she and her hygienist had something special going for them—they performed exceptionally well with anxious patients.

Together, they made a goal: Their practice wouldn’t look, smell, or feel like a dental office. That’s one reason why, in the hygienist’s office—or the “tagged room”— Dannica is always finding something new written on the wall. Now, the “tagged room” has a “Where’s Waldo” effect going on: Any patient—anxious or not—can look up at the wall and read or see some form of entertainment. A famous Tampa duo helped Dannica create a one-of-a-kind practice. Pouring the artistic vibes of Tampa into her dental office started as an idea but, soon enough, one of Dannica’s best friends actually recommended a certain mural artist to turn dreams into reality. Thus, a one-of-a-kind practice—a dental office which exploded into a kaleidoscope of colors, designs, and works of art—would soon come about. The friend who told Dannica that she should have artists do these murals was named Kenzy Vitale, and the artists that she was recommending her were the Vitale Bros. Coincidentally, these guys had been doing most of the artwork Dannica was admiring around the Tampa Bay area—they’ve worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Marriott Hotel, you name it.

While they had worked for a dental practice or two before, they had never done anything too fun for a dentist. So, when it came to decorating Dannica’s practice, they went all out—and even got experimental with some pieces. Dannica’s Business 101. Dannica hasn’t only gotten referrals from her unique office space, but she’s even had people asking her if they can shoot movie clips or take photo shoots in her practice.

That’s a welcome thing for Dannica, as she’s someone who really focuses on influencer marketing. Influencers are prominent in Tampa, after all, and that’s why she loves to bring them into her practice for posts, reels, and so on. Plus, being a Fee For Service (FFS) startup, Dannica knew she was facing two obstacles.  As a new business, it was one battle to attract new patients to her practice, build a reputation, and get everything in working order. But being a FFS practice meant that she had to do a little extra to attract patients to her practice—insurance matters get tricky, to say it bluntly. But when you feel good, your work is good. You can sit in that operatory and stay inspired However, perhaps more importantly, your patients are going to love it just as much. Dannica has realized this isn’t just the case for the younger patients either: While her target demographic never exceeded the age of 50, she’s had a couple of elderly patients who surprised her with how much they appreciated the artwork. And hey, folks, I’m a big fan of respecting our elders.

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