How to achieve influence online


Dr. Julian Webber discusses a new online resource for endodontic patients and the digital environment for endodontists

At the end of 2014, the Harley Street Centre for Endodontics’ website launched Rootipedia, an online glossary of common endodontic and dental terminology.

It was compiled as an online resource for patients but also intended to have an impact on website optimization. Hundreds of people visited the website in response to the launch, and this prompted me to reflect on the effects of the digital world on endodontics.

Most of us tend to see the Internet as a marketing tool. A website today is as essential as a brass plate and a brochure used to be in the 20th century!

But the integration of media that can be achieved online means that the digital environment is equally about helping the business operate successfully.

As in many places in the United States as well, the endodontic community is a small one, and competition among specialists in central London is friendly. If you look at the websites of London’s top 20 specialist practices, for instance, we are all saying similar things but in different ways. Our mission, to quote the title of Dale Carnegie’s book from the 1930s, is to “Win friends and influence people” — although endodontists have their sights on two distinct groups of people: referring dentists and new patients.

The evolution of my practice into the digital sphere has been influenced by another American, the endodontist Dr. Gary Carr. What’s remarkable about his role is that he has also been a lifelong professional mentor. When he established his company, The Digital Office (TDO), I sat up and took notice.

In 2002, I was one of the first U.K. endodontists to decide to buy into his TDO management software. There are now more than 1,500 of us worldwide, and we belong to the TDO community:

The TDO software, which backs up directly to servers in the U.S., stores all our records, images, accounts, and policies, making it possible for me to operate a completely paperless practice. This is probably the greatest advantage of the digital environment for me.

Dentists who refer to the Harley Street Centre for Endodontics are given a login so they can access the records and images of their patients, which can be viewed within 15 minutes of the patient’s appointment. Another advantage of the system is that it allows contemporaneous data capture, so all of the staff can be working within it at the same time.

For the past 2 years, I have been using the TDO app on my iPhone. This makes it possible for me to call up patients’ records and look at their notes and speak to their dentist, no matter where I am in the world. For someone who travels a lot, this is hugely reassuring.

My website incorporates the TDO software, but the front end was designed and built by Jon Kempner of Kiosx. His parents had run a dental practice, and he understands the patient-facing function of the website.

As a result, my website has been built as an educational resource rather than as a business generator. Kempner understands that most of my patients come to the clinic via referral. The website is there as a credibility checker, so new patients can read about root canal treatment, find out the location of the clinic, and the costs of treatment. There are, of course, patients who find me via the website, but they are the minority.

Digital dreams
So what does 2015 hold, and how will I be extending my activities in the digital sphere? My priority is to keep adding information and news to my website because this still has a positive impact on ranking.

Initially, I was wary of social media, but I have to admit that I have come to enjoy Twitter greatly and use it at home and abroad as a way of connecting with friends and colleagues. By tweeting links to my website, I help optimize my site. When Rootipedia was launched, Twitter helped get the word out. LinkedIn was also useful. This is another example of the integration of platforms through digital media, and I’m keen to explore more.

Social media is about building relationships, and the best endodontics is provided when you have a good relationship with your referring dentists and their patients. But remember that no matter how professional your technology and media strategy are, a personal touch can only be achieved offline. I’m hoping that when patients read Rootipedia or any of my other online resources, my blog, the Saving Teeth Awareness Campaign, and my tweets, they are encouraged to take the step of making an appointment to have their root canal treatment.

Hopefully, all online communications reflect the high standards to be found in the specialist practice and a taste of what is to come when the patient finally steps into the operatory.

julian-webber-bdsJulian Webber, BDS, MS, DGDP, FICD, currently practices at the Harley Street Centre for Endodontics on Harley Street in London. He was the first U.K. dentist to receive a Master’s in endodontics from a university in the U.S. Dr. Webber lectures extensively in the U.K., as well as providing workshops and hands-on courses. He is the editor-in-chief of Endodontic Practice in the U.K. To find out more about Rootipedia, an online glossary for endodontic and dental terminology, visit the website at www.

Stay Relevant With Endodontic Practice US

Join our email list for CE courses and webinars, articles and more..

Scroll to Top