With it’s eye-catching and bright mint green exterior, it would be to easy to mistake Gelinas Dental Studio for another cute cafe or trendy ice cream shop along the Dundas West strip in Toronto. A beautifully designed and welcoming dentist’s office? Now that’s definitely not something you see everyday, if ever at all, but that’s exactly what owner and dentist, Dr. Andrea Gelinas, has created for her business. Cozy, design-focused, fun, friendly and inclusive, Gelinas Dental Studio is an incredibly refreshing take on what “going to the dentist” can look and feel like. I mean, when was the last time you headed to get your teeth cleaned with excitement and an extra pep in your step? Probably never.
From my own first-hand experience, I can tell you that this is exactly how you will feel when you’re on your way to an appointment at Gelinas Dental Studio. This place is a game-changer and I couldn’t be more thrilled to shed light on the talented woman who is shaking up the dental industry though her amazing and independent dental studio.
Keep reading to learn more about Dr. Andrea Gelinas of Gelinas Dental Studio!
Business Name: Gelinas Dental Studio
Name & Title: Dr. Andrea Gelinas, dentist
Location: 2076 Dundas, Toronto, ON
Education: Doctor of Dental Surgery
Edit Seven: Tell us about your business, what do you do?
Andrea Gelinas: I own a dental studio that aims to change the way dentistry is presented and perceived. I think it’s time to change the outdated dentist stereotype–beige office, unexplained answers, not something people typically look forward to.
E7: How did you start your business? What inspired you to start?
AG: I was working at a dentist office that was sold to a corporation. Working for a huge company wasn’t how I envisioned practicing dentistry. It made me look deeper and reflect on what dentistry meant to me and why I fell in love with it in the first place. I realized in that moment that I wanted to build my own office and practice dentistry the way I believe, by putting the patient’s needs first.
E7: Why do you love what you do?
AG: I love connecting with my patients.
I love being able to give someone the confidence to smile.
I love turning an anxious patient into one that doesn’t dread their dental appointment.
E7: What makes your business special?
AG: To me, the energy is palpable. We are an inclusive space, which is very important to me and should be important to everyone. Ultimately, I aim to build relationships with my patients based on appreciation, value and trust.
E7: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running your business so far?
AG: I gave birth to my son, Nico eight months after the office opened. It was intense to say the least. He has been my biggest lesson. I quickly learned that it’s alright to embrace the fact that priorities can shift momentarily. I learned to just go with it.
I wanted to be a dentist my entire life which meant that all of my focus was about getting into dental school, then graduating, then working, sometimes six days a week. It took a lot of really hard work and dedication and I never really stopped or took time to slow down. You can’t run a business like that or you will burn out. Nico helped me realize that.
E7: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a business owner?
AG: As a woman in a predominantly male industry, it was difficult being taken seriously at times. It’s utter bullshit. At one point I was so overwhelmed trying to navigate dealing with everyone I thought I was going to lose it. From that moment, I adopted a zero tolerance policy for bullshit. Things changed after that.
I think supporting women in business is important. We have something unique to bring to the table that men don’t, sorry but it’s true. In saying this, I realize that I come from a place of endless privilege and support which is not the case for most female entrepreneurs. It’s really made me take a look at where I shop and which businesses I support.
E7: What is your #1 piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own business?
AG: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
E7: What is your #1 piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own dental practice, especially one that’s totally different to one people are used to?
AG: Take your time. I started my first inspiration board in 2015. Even though there are a lot of details to fill in, it’s important to see where you want to end up and work backwards from there. I drafted stories of what a new patient’s experience would be like. I went to about twenty different dental offices to look at the workflow and design. If you really want to build something different, it better be authentic or patients will know.
E7: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your business?
AG: I wish I would have paid more attention to having a proper self care routine. I am now carving out time weekly to get back to yoga as it really helps me decompress. I’m also regularly seeing my amazing massage therapist again (HRM | RMT). She is the only practitioner that has been able to address my shoulder and back issues from being hunched over all day at work.
E7: What is a challenge you’d tell future entrepreneurs in the dental health business to prepare for?
AG: Corporations are taking over but established neighbourhoods really appreciate a small business approach. Opening an office instead of buying an existing one is really hard but it’s totally worth it because it’s your own! It also helps to have a supportive partner–be it a spouse, friend or family. I wouldn’t have been able to create this space and do what I do if it wasn’t for my husband, Wayne.
E7: How do you stay organized, balanced and motivated?
AG: I live my life on multiple google calendars. I have a calendar for the office, Wayne, Nico, my step son Anden and personal. Some weeks are insane. Natasha has recently joined the team to help me manage the grey area of organization that lies between personal and the office. It has saved me the last few months.
Balance is found when I am in a yoga class.
Motivation comes from the energy at the office.
E7: Who are some of your mentors/role models?
AG: The women, girls, and gender nonbinary folks who are working towards change. They are good role models for all of us. Make change in whatever capacity you can.
E7: Do you have a daily or regular ritual you practice that you love?
AG: I have a journal that I’ve been writing in since I was pregnant. It’s to give Nico one day. I usually write down little stories from the day; something funny he did or I want him to remember that we did as a family. It’s a nice way for me to end the day, reflecting and with a smile.
E7: Where do you go or what do you do to look for inspiration?
AG: I always find inspiration while travelling. Travel was such an important part of my childhood and now for my family as well. It’s important to step away and reconnect with others or ourselves.
E7: Who is the Gelinas Dental Studio customer and why should they book in for an appointment?
AG: Anyone that has (or doesn’t have teeth) that is looking for a different approach to dentistry and overall health. Come see us and you’ll see why!
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)