One of the most striking things about dentists is that they always seem to operate from semi-detached houses, which has over recent years generated a large amount of public curiosity as to why this is the case. This article hopes to offer some reasons why dentists operate from semi-detached houses instead of storefronts. Next time you visit your local dentist in Wakefield, make sure to take a look at the building your dentist practice is in to see if it is semi-detached or not. 

Dentists Don’t Need Shop Windows

Most service-based professions, such as hairdressing, opticians and computer repair technicians, have shop windows where passing members of the public can look in and rapidly get a sense of the service being provided in that building. However, dentists do not have purposely built windows for people to gawp in while you’re having your next root canal, which we definitely think is a good thing! If dentists were to have large shop windows for people to look in, it would more likely repel people from wanting to go to the dentist themselves.


Dentists sit comfortably in the medical field, which means that people can often have a medical need to see a dentist; however, in other service-based professions like hairdressing, it is often desired to get a haircut but it isn’t a medical need. This is why dentists often do not have to advertise as much as other businesses in their local areas. This is another reason why dentists do not require a shop window.

Location, Location, Location

Many towns and cities have unused buildings dotted around that are sometimes in a great location, but even if a dentist wasn’t in the prime location, they are still likely to get a good number of patients. However, if you compare this sentiment to that of hairdressers for example, the hairdresser is much more likely to suffer from poor location than a dentist. 


People go to the dentist because of medical needs and people sign up for dentists and often attend the same dentist for years. However, for other service-based professions like hairdressing, people are very likely to try different hairdressers, often taking into account a combination of service and location to make their conclusion. 

Planning Permission

Hairdressers and opticians typically operate within shops; this is primarily because they need to advertise their services and be in a prime position to attract customers from the surrounding areas. This additional exposure does not come cheap, as converting planning permission alone for a new shop to be built can cost over £40,000, whereas it costs around £400 to convert a residential property into what is known as a non-residential institution; dentists can operate from a non-residential institution, which means that it is often much cheaper for dentists to buy a large semi-detached house and convert it into a dental practice. Additionally, they can choose to place their dentist practice almost anywhere they want; savvy business-focused dentists may try to look for residential areas that are far away from existing dentists. Allowing them to swoop in could convert the locals to attend their dentist instead. 

History Of Dentistry

Did you know that dentists are one of the oldest medical professions, supposedly dating back to 7000 BC? At the time, it was believed that toothworms caused tooth decay; this speculation wasn’t disproved until the 1700s BC! Various civilizations throughout history, such as the ancient Greeks, Hippocrates and Aristotle, have speculated and written about dentistry; however, it wasn’t until 1530 AD that the first book was published that was specifically devoted to dentistry. 


Information and books about dentistry are being spread amongst the general public in a greater fashion, leading to dentistry becoming a more established profession. By the 1700s, dentistry was a profession in its own right and French surgeon Pierre Fauchard published his influential book ‘The Surgeon Dentist’ in 1723. 


Fauchard has been credited as the father of modern dentistry. This book defines a comprehensive system for taking care of and treating teeth. Additionally, Fauchard first identified that acids from sugar led to tooth decay; he also pioneered dental filling and the use of dental prostheses. 


In 1840, the first dental college in America opened its doors, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, which solidified the need for more oversight within the dentistry field. It wasn’t long before the first dental practice opened in Alabama in 1841. In 1859, the American Dentistry Association (ADA) was founded, which provides government oversight over the dentistry field. 


Colgate produced the first mass-produced toothpaste in 1793, followed by toothbrushes a few years later. Many Americans before World War II did not have good oral health. When soldiers were stationed abroad, they picked up good oral health habits from the local populations, which they then brought back to the United States. 

Future Of Dentistry   

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality allows dental students to learn dentistry more effectively. They are often presented with a physical model of a mouth and once they have put on their headset, they can suddenly see the model of the mouth in a whole new light. They can practice virtual renditions of different dental procedures, allowing them to practice and be more confident when it comes to putting their training into practice with an actual patient.

Regenerative Dentistry

Regenerative dentistry is a new biological field within dentistry that aims to cause teeth to self-regenerate after damage or decay. Regenerative dentistry is still very much in its infancy and likely won’t be commercially available for at least a decade to come. However, it is still interesting to learn about treatments that will likely be carried out in the future.

Computer-Assisted Design And 3D Printing 

Currently, when a patient needs a crown, the dentist will create a temporary crown for them while they are still in the dentist’s chair. The patient will have to wait around 3-4 weeks until their permanent crown is made and delivered to the dentist’s practice. However, computer-assisted design and 3D printing can allow dentists to rapidly create a permanent crown for the patient on their first visit. This means that patients can obtain their permanent crowns significantly faster.