Expert Q&A – March 2021

Expert Q&A with: Dr. Vy Phan

Vy Phan

"I find that in this competitive climate, patients want to get to know you and your practice before even stepping into the surgery."


Dr. Vy Phan completed her Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree at James Cook University in 2016 and started running her own private practice, Sunshine Family Dental, shortly thereafter. Since graduating, she has been certified to perform cosmetic injections (dermal fillers and muscle relaxants), Invisalign, Clear Correct aligners and is currently undergoing Progressive Orthodontic Seminars (POS) for braces and the General Dental Residency. Dr. Phan is also in the final year of her Health/Medical Law Masters at the University of Melbourne and is the President of the Melbourne Law Masters Student Association. Dr. Phan has a passion for improving her clinical knowledge through CPDs, digital dentistry such as intraoral scanning and networking. Her special clinical interests include oral surgery and in particular, surgical wisdom extractions.

What led you to the decision to return back to university for the Master of Health/Medical Law program? What’s one thing you’ve learnt from the program that you think is valuable as a dentist? ​

I’ve always had an interest in the medico-legal and specifically, the dento-legal aspects of our profession. After running a practice for a few years, I found it more important than ever to learn about legal and ethical issues related to health practitioners and patients in greater depth. One of my favourite subjects so far has been Medical Ethics, for one of my assignments I wrote about the ethical concerns related to dentists practising with blood-borne viruses such as HIV which is legal in Australia, the UK and a number of states in the US. It was very interesting to explore whether or not dentists should have a duty to disclose this to patients from both a practitioner’s and patient’s point of view. Learning more about patient perceptions, rights and autonomy has been very valuable in developing a good doctor-patient relationship. In addition, it has highlighted more than ever the importance of communicating well with patients and informing them of all possible risks. Being the Melbourne Law Masters Student Association President has enabled me to meet a lot of students from all sorts of academic and cultural backgrounds and given me the opportunity to be involved with various Committees as well as the Law School. In addition, it has equipped me with leadership and organisation skills that have certainly enriched my dental business.

Have you seen any direct benefits from having social media pages dedicated for your dental office? Do you curate posts yourself or outsource?

Social media is not the only marketing tool that we use however it is certainly beneficial. Given the rising popularity of social media, we find that updating our Facebook and Instagram with opening hours, services we offer and links to booking appointments online very convenient for both new and existing patients. It enables your dental clinic to reach a wider audience and sets you apart from other local practices. For example, we have a YouTube channel with educational videos, clinic tours and Covid-19 protocols. I find that in this competitive climate, patients want to get to know you and your practice before even stepping into the surgery. For our Instagram page “sunshinefamilydentalclinic”, I provide the photos, content, captions and ideas to someone who then does the formatting, puts it together and posts on my behalf! I’ve tried to ensure we post regularly, roughly three times a week, have a focus for each post e.g. a quote, dental treatment or a staff photo and have a consistent layout throughout.

How did you go on about beginning to offer cosmetic procedures, such as lip fillers? Do you recommend any CPD? Did you launch marketing campaigns to advertise and get it running or just informed existing patients of it?

Initially I had pamphlets made which I displayed in the waiting room and dropped off at local businesses such as GP clinics and hair salons. I updated our website, promoted on social media and also started introducing the concept of cosmetic injections to regular patients. I did my first course in 2017 but recently did an anti-wrinkle and dermal filler course through Aesthetics and Skin Institute. My instructor Dr Giulia D’Anna was very helpful and professional, I would definitely recommend doing any of her CPDs. I prefer not to launch large scale marketing campaigns and instead focus on promoting our services within our local communities and social media platforms. Most of my cosmetic injectable patients are referred by others and I find word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways of attracting new patients.

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