Dr. Giulia D’Anna graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1996 as a dentist, and later graduated from the AACDS as a dermal therapist. She established iDental in 1998, and is committed to great results. Giulia attributes her drive for business success from her father, who always had huge motivation and drive to push for better performance in his business every single day.
Dr. Giulia D’Anna has impeccable credentials as a cosmetic dentist and these have earned her a well-deserved reputation for being one of the leading dentists in Australia. Dr. Giulia D’Anna’s ethos was to create a practice and centre of excellence, which embraced only the best in contemporary dentistry and customer service. The vision is to offer state of the art techniques and procedures and the most aesthetically pleasing results, drawing on the skills of only the most talented doctors. This also included the assurance of painless treatment delivered in relaxed, warm and welcoming settings.
Within her practice, Giulia now runs two businesses; iDental and Dermal Distinction. Her roles within the businesses include director, principal cosmetic dentist, advanced cosmetic injector and dermal skin therapist. She was the first dentist in Australia to pass through both Dental School and also achieve a qualification in Cosmetic Dermal Science. Giulia loves the uniqueness of her practice, where she blends dental health, with the smile aesthetic and facial zones. Giulia’s business life is busy, but she loves her ever-evolving role in her clients health and cosmetic desires.
Now we know starting a business is not easy, can you tell us how you created iDental?
You know a great attribute to have when starting a business can sometimes be being naive. For me, when I overthink and over plan my decisions, I can talk myself out of moving forward because I am so scared of failure. I think that is true of a lot of people too, particularly women. So right from the beginning, I moved forward with my gut feeling, ‘if it feels right, it probably is right’. The decision to start iDental was then actually really easy back then. I thought to myself if it did go wrong, I would just settle into working as an associate for another dental practice somewhere, and put my passion there.
So without too much thought, I took out some bank and finance loans and purchased a property and the necessary equipment. It was nothing too flashy at the time, but I converted a house into my practice, and worked my butt off for several years to literally start my client base from zero to where it is now. At that stage, I had the goal of working towards a boutique-designed practice, and that became a reality in 2006 after a couple of years of design and planning. My practice is now stunning, and I enjoy coming in to work
everyday. I know my clients feel the same, and they often comment about how they feel I have nailed the boutique hotel vibe, which is perfect for me.
How are the treatments tested?
Treatments, dental and dermal, need to be scientifically backed before I will even consider incorporating them at iDental and Dermal Distinction. This is particularly true in the skin world, as there are so many fads and trends that come and go.
Although I love tech gadgets and anything uber-cool, I will not instantly add them to the menu of services we offer. I need to read and look at scientific or medical studies of results that these new treatments have been able to achieve. Considerations for me include risks, benefits, downtime, expected results, possible reactions and costs. If the new technology or treatment passes this first scrutiny process, we then try it out personally on ourselves. I consider thing like; How does it feel? Does it provide value for money? Does the treatment achieve it’s objective? Finally after considering the alternative options, we will then consider the new treatment for our services menu. Many hours of research goes into what we offer our clients.
Why both dental and skincare?
As a cosmetic dentist, I studied the anatomy, physiology and medical treatment of the face, head, neck and mouth for five years at University, and then at other continuing professional development courses that are ongoing. I am committed to continued education and constantly update my skills. In 2006, at around the same time I moved into our new boutique dental practice building, I began to study the skin and beauty treatments available. At that time, it was purely for myself and I was not really consciously thinking that I would incorporate this into my professional work life.
Then a few years later, I attended a workshop on cosmetic injectables run by the Australasian Academy of Dento-Facial Aesthetics (www.aadfa.net) and it really changed my life. It opened my mind to what I could do with my already acquired dental and medical knowledge. Up until then, I was trained to focus on one small area of the teeth and gums, but the smile is so much more than that. The smile is your whole face, and without paying any reference to the face, I was not assisting my patient as much as I thought I was. I mean, how many times have we seen a friend, family member or celebrity that has brilliant white straight teeth, but their face does not match with the same health or youthfulness. By enhancing both the smile and face, I am now really putting things back into proportion and truly achieving a full aesthetic outcome.
Do you use any of iDental and Dermal Distinction treatments yourself?
I wish I had even more iDental and Dermal Distinction treatments, but I am too busy working within my business most days. From a dental point of view, having a great clean is literally one of the best things. It sounds so simple but removing stains and buildup is just so refreshing. My mouth feels better and I am sure it makes my breath smell better too. It is an essential for anyone wanting to represent themselves in the best way .
For skin treatments, I have so many done. I have a great skin care regime at home, and I try and have regular chemical peels done. My skin feels so much cleaner and hydrated once the outer dead skin cell layers have been removed. At least twice a year I have a Venus Viva Radio Frequency treatment for general skin tightening and skin support. Finally I am a true advocate of cosmetic injectables. I regularly have wrinkle relaxer injections and dermal fillers to enhance my skin and also to maintain my facial proportion. I love to look my best, and to represent myself and my businesses, feeling confident.
What non-surgical recommendations would you make to reverse the signs of aging?
Ageing is inevitable, but we can do treatments so that we look the best for our age, and that should be the key to any treatment. I work with my clients through different stages, and I think clients are often surprised that I don’t recommend cosmetic injectables as the first treatment to reverse the signs of ageing. But if I did that, I would be ignoring the skin and dental health of the client, which is actually most important.
So firstly as a dentist, we need to ensure that the teeth are healthy. Any discolourations and chips need to be addressed with Tooth Whitening and Resin bonding, or other appropriate treatments. For alignment issues, orthodontic treatment or resin veneers are also considerations to really make the smile shine.
Once the dental health is in order, the face is our next phase of treatment. And this starts with skin health. We will assess the skin and determine what the concerns are, what the skin is lacking and what home care products are needed to support the skin health.
Professional treatments are then aimed at skin texture, tone and elasticity. Chemical peels are great at resurfacing the skin and regulating skin turnover. Problems like pigmentation or dull, lacklustre skin can improve with a series of these treatments. Skin elasticity can be improved with treatments like skin needling or radiofrequency treatments. These are both aimed at bolstering and supporting collagen production so that the skin will have greater support over time.
Finally cosmetic injectables can be undertaken, and most always be done with reference to the existing architecture of the face. This is really the key to great cosmetic treatment is make sure that your injector maintains proportion by acknowledging the PHI proporions of the face. I most definitely will not perform treatment on anyone without checking and maintaining the ideal face shape for that person. And I also think it is important to recognize, that although I love all the stages of treatment, not everyone needs every step or wants them, and that is okay too.
For a woman that has never had any cosmetic treatment, what would you recommend where to start with? What is a great cosmetic treatment?
Before undertaking any professional treatment, I cannot stress how important it is to look after your general skin health first. It does not cost a great deal to use some good quality skin care to support your skin, and it will prevent deterioration of the skin. This applies to both men and women.
Every morning I recommend you use a great cleanser [such as PCA creamy cleanser], followed by a Vitamin C serum [such as Aspect Dr Active C]. Vitamin C helps to brighten the skin, prevent pigmentation and also it is the building block of collagen. I top this off with a great moisturizer and broad spectrum sunscreen. I love a sunscreen that is in the form of a liquid foundation as this can perform two functions for me. My favourite is Colorescience Tint Du Soleil which is a whipped foundation infused with vitamins. One product, multiple functions, perfect for a busy woman.
At night, swap out the vitamin C, for a Vitamin A or retinol product such as Cosmedix Refine, to really help lift away dead skin cells gently over night.
What should people look for when looking for a cosmetic or dental procedure?
Before undertaking any cosmetic or dental procedure, I would encourage my clients to consider the permanency of that decision. If you cannot “undo” the procedure, you really need to make sure you understand the maintenance needed to keep your teeth or skin looking their best.
For your smile, veneers are a really great way of changing the colour, shape and length of your teeth. However consideration should be given to the type of veneer procedure you are undertaking. Porcelain veneers are usually irreversible as some enamel needs to be shaved from the teeth to allow for them to be placed over and cover the tooth. This effectively means that once you have a porcelain veneer, you will need to have a porcelain veneer for life, as you cannot replace the shaved enamel. Another alternative is resin veneers. At iDental, I use resin veneers to create an effect that is so similar to porcelain it is often hard to distinguish between the two. The benefits of resin in my practice, is that the treatment is reversible as I do not change the underlying tooth structure. So in the future you are not at a disadvantage for having made that decision.
In the cosmetic setting, I would encourage clients to seek out an injector that measures proportion and uses non-permanent filler treatments. Our face transforms and changes over time. Placing permanent cheek filler in a thirty year old will not look right when that same person is fifty, because the skin and permanent filler will move down with gravity. Melanie Griffith recently talked about having her fillers removed that were placed many years ago. These days, it just seems crazy to me that anyone would consider this kind of treatment when there are so many great options available.
When are you not at work, what are some of your favorite pastimes?
My hobby is work – literally could and would spend every waking moment working in or on my businesses. However I do switch off sometimes too. My job can be quite sedentary, so I make sure that I get out every day at lunchtime for a walk around my neighbourhood. Being my own boss, I bring my dogs to work with me. Then each night after work, I use my home treadmill to walk and/or run every day at least 10kms to keep my heart pumping, and I sometimes do light weights too for core strength.
A few years ago, I became a serious cake decorator in my time off. I loved the focus and dedication to detail that it took to create a wedding cake. I also loved the celebration of cake too. I would deliver the cake to the client and loved seeing the look on their faces when the cake looked better than they had imagined.
For fun these days, I love to sit at a great café or restaurant with my family. My children love to eat pizza and we are so lucky to have so many wood-fired pizza places around to choose from.
I recently went to a winery for a family birthday in the country and it was relaxing to have a relaxed day in the sun eating food and drinking delicious wine.
What sacrifices have you had to make while building iDental?
I entered university at the age of 17 and worked through five years of university to graduate in 1996 when I was 22 years old. From there I worked in three other dental practices to gain experience and really find out what kind of dentist I wanted to be. Then in 1998, at the age of 24 years old, I started my own practice iDental. At that time, I had big debt and no client base or dependable income to support myself. I had just the drive and motivation to be successful.
Lots of my friends had taken time off for a gap year, to travel the world and experience things outside of their normal life. I committed to working to my goal.
For the following few years, my plan was to invest more into my business to build the boutique practice of my dreams. That meant more work and dedication to achieve what iDental and Dermal Distinction is now. I don’t really see my pathway as having been a sacrifice. I love what I have achieved, and what that has let me enjoy now. I enjoy the satisfaction of working in a practice I love, I have clients that I consider friends and I get to go on amazing holidays with my family. We just came back from almost three amazing weeks in Paris, where we got to eat still warm bagettes everyday along the River Seine, whilst having the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop.
What is your favorite aspect of becoming an entrepreneur?
It is funny because I don’t really think of myself as an entrepreneur, but instead as a business owner with dreams and goals, which I guess is an entrepreneur anyway! I do love having created my work environment and designing that boutique experience for my clients and staff. Very occasionally, I stop and feel really satisfied when I see how beautiful my practice is, and how my dreams have come to life.
However the absolute best aspect of my job for me, is when I hit a goal. That really defines success for me. My goals are never, ever financial ones. Instead my goals are getting cosmetic results that exceed what my client was expecting. For instance, when I do an amazing job placing resin veneers that brings a huge smile to a clients face, well that is a ‘high-five’ moment for me. Another favourite moment I had recently, was when worked I with a client that just did not like the way she looked at all. She was really feeling down about herself. She decided to work with me, and we performed a series of dental and cosmetic treatments to progressively change the way she looked. As we moved forward and her face started to really glow and looked more refined, her attitude and personality blossomed. If ever there was a moment that defined why I work on both dental and cosmetic skin treatments, it is this one. That one client is truly a personal highlight for me, and makes me proud to work in both the dental and dermal arenas.
I cannot think of a job I would rather be doing, than what I am doing right now. There is seriously no better feeling than working where you want to work, with people you have selected that have the same motivations as you, and achieving goals that everyone appreciates.