The unappreciated virtues of a CBD practice
29 Nov 2021 - Simon Palmer - Buyer: Buying

With pandemic restrictions easing, many businesses are starting to see their staff coming back into the office and our cities are starting to show clear signs of revival and recovery.

There is some speculation that cities may struggle or take some time to get back to where they were pre-COVID-19, and this will no doubt make some dental practice buyers hesitant to invest. Others are more bullish, saying that cities will always be the lifeblood of society, that remote working will never be able to replicate the onsite learning and collaboration of the office environment and that cities will continue to hold appeal for social, cultural, career and consumption opportunities. Population density creates a lot of stimulating and exciting stuff to do, and people will continue to flock to places that have it.

Now is a great time to remind people why CBD dentistry was once highly sought after. City dentistry has many under-appreciated virtues, which will no doubt still be there for a long time to come. 


  • A high percentage of employed people with money to spend. There are less unemployed patients in the middle of the city than in the suburbs. As a generality, the patient base that a practice will attract in the CBD will be people with jobs there. They are more likely to be people with a profession and the patient base will have a higher disposable income on average than one in the suburbs. As a result, city practices have the potential to do much more high-end and comprehensive work than the average suburban counterpart.
  • A high percentage of patients who are within close proximity during the day. Between 9-5, Monday to Friday, the population in the suburbs thins out, as people go to work in the CBD. As a result, a suburban dentist’s potential patient-base also thins out during these hours.
  • Less demand for appointments on weekends. The CBD practice will be very similar to the suburban practice in the demand for early morning and evening appointments. However, the CBD practice has little to no demand for appointments on the weekend, giving the CBD practice owner significant lifestyle benefits.
  • Less Emergencies. When my father had a suburban practice, he found that patients had no problem asking him to come in for mild “emergencies” on nights and weekends (mainly, I suspect, because it didn’t put THEM out coming into the practice when it was near their house). The patients of the CBD practice were much more likely to put off mild emergency dental work till Monday morning, because they couldn’t be bothered coming into town.
  • More professional behaviour from patients. Anecdotally, I can tell you from dentists in the CBD who have experienced both CBD and suburban dentistry, that patients coming from their place of work are more professional in their behaviour and in their interactions with the practice. They are (again, anecdotally) more punctual, more likely to be punctual with payment of accounts and more likely to want to stick to the allotted time.
  • Less kids: Children (as a generality) are less lucrative as individual patients than adults. They are less likely to need crowns, bridges, implants and other comprehensive work. On top of this, there is a higher incidence of dental phobia, screaming, gagging, etc., amongst child patients.
  • Easier to attract quality staff. Attracting quality staff in suburban, regional or rural areas is usually much more difficult than in the CBD of any major city. You are generally limited to those who can easily commute to your suburb, and are at the mercy of public transport routes and traffic patterns. The CBD acts as a transport hub for busses, trains, ferries, light rail, etc., and is typically central to the suburbs of the city. When you have a business in the CBD, staff can and do come from anywhere.

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