Dental Care Worth Smiling About

Dermott McMorrough.
Photo: Eoin Meegan.

By Eoghan Meegan

Popular Sandymount dentist Dermott McMorrough has moved to Smiles Dental, Ireland’s largest privately-owned dental care provider, in Waterloo Road.

Dermott had been in Sandymount since 1990, and after some initial jitters believes now he did the right thing. “Sandymount has a great community spirit. Everybody knows everybody else, and that is why it was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to move,” he told NewsFour, “you develop friendships over time, and that’s very important”.

The merger with Smiles Dental means Dermott can expand his practice and offer an improved service to all his existing customers.   

It was passion for dentistry that motivated Dermott to choose the profession in the first place. Inspired at the age of fifteen by a rugby coach, who was also a trainee dentist, his mind was made up. “I just knew at that age that’s what I wanted to be. In fact, if I didn’t succeed in dentistry I wasn’t going to do any other kind of medicine. I would’ve probably went on to be an accountant, which was what my father wanted,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.  

Although not born into the world of dentistry, Dermott did marry into it; his father-in-law, who turned out to be the second great influence on Dermott, was also a dentist. “I remember he used to sing every morning, and he told me that if you don’t enjoy the job you’re doing, then don’t do it. Those words transformed me”. Luckily Dermott loves his job, especially the element of social contact.

“The most interesting thing about dentistry is that you’re dealing with people, with families, and you get to know them. I remember kids being brought to me by their parents, who are now bringing their own children in. A lot of things have changed in dentistry, but that human element never changes”.

He told me he would often go into O’Reilly’s or Mulligan’s for lunch and someone would come up to him and start talking about their teeth, and ask him if he thought it needed a filling. Others would wave to him as they were passing by his house, his surgery being at the front.

So why the move to Smiles?

“I was really impressed with their total professionalism, their willingness to invest in the most up-to-date equipment, and the care they put into all aspects of dentistry”.

He also loves how Smiles look after the admin business, the part of it he wasn’t so fond of, leaving him free to concentrate on the dental side. “Investing in dentistry is very expensive today. To run a proper, efficient dental practice now,” he explains, “is becoming very expensive”. 

Has he seen many changes in dentistry over the years?  

“Yes. In the past, orthodontic treatment was symptom-orientated, today it is preventative, and even cosmetic driven. Also, image is really important today and people want whiter teeth, and for them to be perfectly straight. That’s just a change of the times, and it reflects a more affluent society. At one time, people wanted to hold on to what they had as long as they could, now it’s becoming more common to have implants put in, and braces, including invisalign”.

I had to ask what that was

“Custom-made invisible and removable braces”. Very popular with young people. But even older people, he assures me, are having straightening done. Dentures are nearly a thing of the past now, although Dermott does them when necessary.

Since his move to Waterloo Road, he notices a big increase in twenty-five year olds in his practice. “They can slip in during lunch time for a cleaning or whitening. In Sandymount, it was more elderly people and children. People expect a high standard of dental care. That’s why you always have to keep improving”.

Dermott is impressed at how healthy children’s teeth are today, and attributes this to fluoridation. “The health of children’s teeth today compared with  when I started out is so much improved, and that’s in spite of all the sugary drinks they consume”. He has certainly no worries about the fluoridation of water. “Amounts are miniscule, so I don’t see a problem”.

Are people still afraid of the dentist?

“Some people do fear pain but it’s our job to put them at ease. However, the real pain today is the cost”. He makes no qualms about saying that money is the biggest fear people have. “Good dental care has become very prohibitive”.

He is very critical about the level of dental care that is provided for people on medical cards. “You are only entitled to one examination, and two fillings a year, you even have to pay for cleaning.

On the other hand, you can get as many extractions as you need, and dentures for free, which is really a shame. Pulling teeth is not best dental practice”.

Dermott wishes to stress that he will still be seeing medical card holders, and at present nothing has changed in that area, although he did add when he merged with Smiles they asked him to drop that side of the business. Smiles Dental broadly don’t do it.

Do you ever get bored looking into people’s mouths?

“No, not at all,” he laughs, “it is very rewarding to see people who may have been self conscious about their teeth leaving satisfied and confident about how they look. It’s about providing a caring service. That’s why I do what I do”.

Dermott wishes to show huge appreciation to Paula Egan, his receptionist, who has been with him for thirteen years, and hygienist Emma Ryan, who has been there for ten. Both have moved with him and are very much part of the Smiles team at Waterloo Road.

In his new move to Smiles, he wants to assure all of his current and old customers that nothing has changed. “It will still be the same friendly Sandymount service, only with the added benefit of Smiles support”.

We wish Dermott all the best at his new practice at Smiles Dental, St Martin’s House, Waterloo Road. For appointment call (01) 614 0440