A career woman, mother, wife, charity worker and inspirational figure, Shivani Patel is extremely passionate about dentistry and in 2010 opened elleven dental (www.ellevendental.co.uk) – an award-winning, highly specialist dental and orthodontics practice in London – with her husband Sameer and business partner, Anthony Lam. Specialising in dentistry, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry, the practice leads the way in innovation and dental techniques, offering pioneering treatments using state of the art technology to its patients, which include celebrities such as Emma Watson, James Caan and Lewis Moody.
Staff numbers have grown year on year from two to twelve and with around 20% of its patients travelling from abroad, elleven is now recognised as one of the best dental practices in the UK. It was the first UK practice to operate the Sure Smile scanner which reduces treatment for teeth straightening by up to nine months, with the practice being selected to trial the technology in the UK due to being fresh and innovative in its approach.
As a partner of the practice, Shivani puts in the most hours at elleven and is responsible for training staff along with more of the everyday aspects of the business and clinical work. Trained to consultant level, she spends three days a week doing clinical work. On her other days she lectures to postgraduate students at Guy’s Hospital, the Royal London Hospital and teaches therapists at the University of Lancashire. In addition, she is editor of the Orthodontic Practice journal, which, along with administrative duties, she can do from home. She has also travelled aboard to Kenya lecturing to the members of the Kenya Dental association. At the last meeting in October 2013, she was awarded an honorary fellowship to the International College of Dentistry (of which there are only 200 out of the 12,000 members).
Born and raised in Kenya, Shivani came to London in 1995 as an international student at Guy’s Hospital. She spent five years at dental school, three further years qualifying to be an orthodontist and three more to be a consultant. During those years she worked in the community in old people’s homes and in a hospital in surgery for oral cancer and facial reconstruction. As well as her experience, Shivani has also done extensive research and she has won several prestigious awards including the European Orthodontic Society’s prestigious William Houston Award for the best European research and a Fellowship in Orthodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons. The award included a travel scholarship and she used it to go on a three-week aid mission with Christian Relief Uganda and seven other dentists to bring dentistry to people living on the islands of Lake Victoria. The group treated 1,500 adults and children during their mission. This inspired her to carry out more charity missions with elleven, most recently partnering with the cleft palate charity Smile Train, where she is due to undertake another charity trip in the very near future.
Just after she qualified as a consultant, Shivani had her daughter who is now four. She took five months maternity leave and following this she opened elleven with her husband and business partner where she initially worked there two days while doing locum work at a hospital. When demand started to grow for elleven she gave up her other work and focused on the practice and admits she and her husband had to work long hours to build up the business. Her daughter went to nursery, however sometimes Shivani would have to bring her into work, juggling being a mother and a high flying dental practitioner.
In 2012, Shivani was the runner up for the Professions category of Asian Women of Achievement Awards and is a registered member of the Inspirational Women’s Group which sends women out to be role models in the south Asian community. Shivani is heavily involved in the community and gives talks at various schools about work experience, a career in dentistry as well as educating children on the importance of practicing good dental hygiene.
In her personal time she is a semi professional Indian classical dancer, which she has been learning from the tender age of 10 years. She still attends post diploma classes and performs at any given chance.
As a businesswoman Shivani is keen to grow elleven and the partners are currently looking to open a practice in the suburbs nearer their home which would be more family-based. Shivani is also offering continuous professional development evenings every few months to dentists in the vicinity of the main practice to educate them about orthodontics. Shivani loves her job and her family and as it stands, she is doing an incredible job of creating a perfect work life balance.