From Clear Aligners to Content Creation – How Dr. Avi Patel is Shaking Up the Dental Industry

In Launchpad by Dental Entrepreneur

Dr. Avi Patel grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, completed dental school at NYU, graduated in 2018, and worked at a handful of associateships in the Northeast and then moved down to Austin, Texas, during the pandemic in 2020. Last year he created an aligner course for general dentists, and you can find him on Instagram as @Doctor.Avi – the Clear Aligner Advisor – or on his website


Luke: Let’s just take it back a little bit. When did you start posting online, and why?


Avi: So I started posting last year in 2022, and I was posting because, at the time, I was doing one-on-one consulting with other general dentists, and I was just teaching them how to do aligners. This was pre-course, literally just working with docs, trying to teach them everything from A to Z.


Luke: Were you paid for that? Or was it just a part of your group?


Avi: The docs were paying for the consulting. Even before that, I was just helping doctors in the practice I worked at. Then I wanted an official position, but the DSO that I was at didn’t want to create that position. They just wanted me to focus on producing. So then, on the side, my wife gave me the idea to start consulting, and I was just like, what’s consulting? How do you do that? She helped me because she has a finance background. And then I was just doing cold outreach to doctors in Austin for the consulting business. Then I used social media as a free way to just market for the consulting business. So that’s why I started posting.


Luke: Free in the sense that you don’t have to pay for it, but you had to spend all of your time doing it?


Avi: Exactly. And I had time at that point, but I didn’t have money. So I was like, let’s give this social media thing a try. 


Luke: So before that, did you ever think of doing courses or posting on social media?


Avi: Honestly, no. I wasn’t even following a lot of dental accounts because I was at such a low point in dentistry early in my career where it was kind of triggering for me, because I was suffering from the whole comparison thing where I’d see people doing amazing dentistry, and I just felt like the work that I was doing wasn’t up to this high standard. 


But now that I look back on it, and realize, the people who are putting out these gorgeous veneer cases and stuff like that are because they took years of training and hours of practice to make it happen. 


It’s funny because my mom had actually told me to post when I first came out of school. But I just didn’t feel passionate about making content like teaching patients how to brush and floss. Cause that’s all I had seen. And so I was like, that’s not true to me, so I didn’t post anything dental.


Luke: So, what do you think has allowed your coaching business to be successful?


Avi: I think the fact that one, there’s a need. I think there’s a big gap in just foundational training for general dentists from a general dentist perspective. And then I think about the fact that I’m willing to share a lot of free education. I’m not holding the secrets back.  I think it’s a procedure that a lot of GPs don’t know how to do, but are interested in learning how to do it.


But then also I think the general public wants it. Patients want this treatment. I think we’re living in an era where a lot of people in their thirties had braces when they were kids. They didn’t wear retainers – so there is a lot of treatment out there. 


Luke: How often are you in the office working, how often are you working on the course?


Avi: So ever since January, 2023, I went down to two days in the office. So Mondays, Tuesdays, and then I spend the rest of the week working on the business. I’m learning a lot about marketing because that is kind of the biggest thing for me to grow the business right now. Over the last year and a half, I’ve made several modifications and improvements to the course itself, just based on feedback from the doctors in it. 


Luke: Is it just you doing this whole thing, or do you have an assistant?


Avi: So it was me for the longest time. I just now got an assistant, but I’m working on training her to take some of this stuff off of my plate. A lot of the content was taking up most of my time. So I’m working on creating systems to have her run some of my social media. I mean, it’s still me on my page, but I’m starting to see the power and the value of delegating some things so that I can work on other projects.


Luke: Do people ever say you’re too young for this? Or like anything like that?


Avi: I had one guy that I talked to recently, I was actually trying to sponsor his group. He was like, “What makes you qualified to do this? Why would anyone want to learn from you?” And it kind of threw me off, because that was the first time someone has directly asked me that. But it was a fair question. I answered, “I’m qualified to teach people how to start doing this because I just went through this. It’s fresh. I know the challenges. I know the struggles.”


Luke: Would you say your course is intended for people who have never done aligners?


Avi: Yeah, like zero clue on how to do it. It teaches people how to start.


Luke: And what are your plans for the future? Do you plan to offer more advanced courses, or do you really wanna hone in on this niche?


Avi: I think, me personally, it’s going to be honing in on this niche. I’ve had some doctors ask if there’s more, like a part two. But I think what I would want to do is collaborate with orthodontists or other doctors who have more advanced training. Or create an even more basic version for someone who may not be ready to dive into all this. 


Luke: Is your goal to be zero days in the clinic?


Avi: It’s funny you’re bringing it up because I was actually thinking the growth with the program has put me in a place where even when I have the three days a week to work on it, I still feel like a time crunch. So, I’m trying to optimize my time, but I could see myself going down to zero clinical because, for me, I’m seeing other gaps in dentistry that I would love to kind of help fix.


Luke: Do you look at these other aligner courses as competition?


Avi: No. So when I first started, I was kind of measuring myself against them. Like, dang, these people already have solid courses. How am I going to be able to compete? But the more that I’ve exposed myself to non-dental entrepreneurs, and some super successful people, I’ve learned about and leaned into an abundance mindset. And at the end of the day, if you are adding value to an area of need, then there is no real competition at that point.


Luke: What are your thoughts on these companies where the general dentist isn’t really doing it? 


Avi: Yeah, I think it’s interesting. So I think I get why those companies exist. I understand what they’re trying to solve, but I still think that the general dentist, if you’re offering aligners in your practice, you need some type of foundational education, because as much as it might be easy to just get a treatment plan and execute it, I’ve been in an office where that was the case and I just saw train wrecks of cases because the doc didn’t know how to do the basic things like IPR or to remove flash around attachments. 


It sounds great, but if they don’t know how to do it, it’s going to cause a lot of refinements and wasted time. And it’s because I don’t think the GP actually had that foundational training. So I think you’ve got to have both. But as a GP, you got to know the basics. 


Dr. Luke Shapiro Bio:

Dr. Luke Shapiro received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Spanish. He received his DDS from Stony Brook and completed his orthodontics residency at Tufts.  He started the Instagram page @‌futuredentist and works with the educational organization @‌ignitedds.  Dr. Shapiro now works in private practice in New York City at Wall Street Orthodontics and Lemchen Salzer.