Now more than ever, it’s important to look after our health and well-being. This includes taking care of our dental health, as oral health also serves as a window to our overall health. In this feature, we spoke to Dr. Anna Lynn Alix, owner of Sonrisa Dental Clinic, about continuously providing quality dental services, as well as the clinic’s history and the importance of constant learning and adaptation to further grow as a business and as a professional.
“Sonrisa”, meaning “smile” in Spanish, is the word that Dr. Alix named her clinic after, which also encapsulates the clinic’s goal to make more people smile with quality dental care. Dr. Alix has been in practice for 15 years, having started her dental profession in 2005 and established Sonrisa Dental Clinic in 2008. For Dr. Alix, pursuing a profession in the dental sector was an easy choice, as she had always wanted to be a dentist since she was young. However, that doesn’t mean that her journey to get to where she currently is as an accomplished and experienced professional was as easy and smooth-sailing as choosing her career.
In her early years as a new practitioner looking to establish her own clinic, she encountered challenges that came along with starting her own business from scratch. Aside from building enough capital to kickoff her clinic, one of the first aspects she struggled with was choosing the clinic’s location. “I had to think strategically and think about things in the long term. Sabi ko [I said], I wanted to be in a location wherein there’s not a lot of competition, but at the same time, may demand [there’s a demand].” Dr. Alix said. This thinking led her to her initial location in Alabang Hills, a fitting and advantageous choice even if she had been living in another city at that time. Although she relocated her clinic after a few years, developing this strategic mindset helped her in more business related decisions in the long run.
Another struggle she faced as a fairly new practitioner was advertising and gaining customers who would eventually regular clients. At first, she tried investing in newspaper ads for villages near the clinic’s area. Doing so helped her gain some clients, but she eventually realized that what played the most part in gaining regulars was building trust with her patients by consistently providing good service. Her clinic continuously grew through satisfied patients’ referrals and recommendations, until she gained the means to hire additional staff, transfer to her current location, and obtain more and better equipment for the clinic.
Sonrisa Dental Clinic in Alabang Citiarcade
The clinic specializes in family dentistry and orthodontics, providing care and treatment for all ages. However, Dr. Alix continuously strives to expand her specializations to make her practice even more comprehensive. Aside from her mastery in orthodontics, she has also delved into temporomandibular disorders and orofacial pain, aiding patients who are experiencing joint pains and headaches primarily caused by disorders in the jaw joints. Her latest venture into her expansion of specializations deals with sleep and sleep management. She assesses children who experience sleep and airway problems due to dental health issues.
Aside from her love for learning, Dr. Alix expands her areas of specializations as it allows her to further broaden her expertise, therefore allowing her to serve more patients who are dealing with less common dental issues that affect their lifestyle and well-being. “I want my practice to be more comprehensive. It’s important for me to provide quality service more than anything.” she shared.
Like many businesses during this time, Dr. Alix has also been dealing with the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to her clinic. “After all the hardships I’ve been through, itong pandemic yung naging pinakamalaking hurdle sa kin,” she shared. “I had to be more open minded and accept the situation, na ganito na talaga [that it is what it is]. All I can do is adapt immediately sa sitwasyon [to the situation], kasi kung di ka mag-aadapt, maiiwan ka [because if you don’t adapt, you’ll be left behind].” When the government announced on May 16th that dental clinics are allowed to open again after months of community quarantine, Dr. Alix took the chance to reopen her clinic and acquire additional safety equipment to follow the imposed government protocols while operating during the pandemic.
“I risked the possibility na pwede kaming magka-covid [that we could have COVID], but it’s part of our responsibility. All we can do is follow the proper protocols. We’re very, very strict with our rules when it comes to receiving patients.” During the first few weeks of reopening, the clinic only accepted patients who needed emergency consults and procedures. Although the clinic has lifted this policy, they still only operate through an appointment based system to keep both patients and staff safe.
When asked what she can advise fellow business owners who are dealing with setbacks due to the pandemic, she said, “Be proactive. If this situation isn’t working for you, think of what you can change about your business. Think out of the box, be proactive, and adapt.” She also stressed the importance of caring for employees, as she further advised, “At the same time, extend empathy for your staff. Offer support, because they’re affected too. Just believe that if you throw out something positive in the universe, the same positive deed will come back to you.”
Sonrisa Dental Clinic is a fairly new JazzyPay merchant, but Dr. Alix shared her reasons for partnering up . “Actually, medyo old-school ako [I’m a bit old-school]. I used to only accept cash and go to banks for deposits,” she shared, “but I realized that going cashless is safer and more convenient, especially during the pandemic.” At one point, Dr. Alix also got a card terminal for card payments, which she eventually stopped using because of technical problems she experienced as well as the high charges she had to deal with. “I had to pay for charges for the card terminal and the bank that issued it, so parang doble na yung kaltas sa akin, kaya tinigil ko na [it’s like I’m being charged double, so I decided to stop using it],” she explained. “I didn’t want to continuously pay just for the terminal itself anymore, kaya nung na-discover ko ang JazzyPay [when I discovered JazzyPay] and found out that I could go cashless without a terminal and without paying for setup or registration fees, I decided to go for it.”
Sonrisa Dental Clinic is located in Alabang Citiarcade, Don Jesus Blvd. Building in Muntinlupa City. To set up an appointment with Dr. Alix, and for more information about the clinic, visit their Facebook page at @sonrisadentalclinic1770.