I could never have imagined when I arrived in 1998 how much the village of Ratoath would grow around me. I had worried that Ratoath might not be ready to support a dental practice of its own. It was then a population of just 1,300 residents. Today it is home to nearly 10,000 and growing all the time. It is now a happy blend of Meath and Dublin and its three large schools are struggling to keep up with this sustained growth. From the day I saw my first patient in 1998 I never looked back. My move to Ratoath was the second best decision I ever made. The best years of my career have been spent here and we have always strived to provide the very best our profession has to offer. Over the past twenty years much has changed in dentistry. Here is my brief reflection. 

Ratoath Dental and Implant Centre is now a four surgery practice with a team of sixteen. These are four dentists two hygienists , six nurses two receptionists an Implantologist and a Prosthodontist ! We have always been immensely proud to be part of Ratoath. The sense of optimism and community spirit in the Village is outstanding. Ordinary people make great things happen and everyone gets behind the various projects whether they are sporting, charitable or cultural. Ratoath notice board with over 10,000 members is a great example of the mutual support and encouragement that is to be found right here in our big little village. 

I believe good dentistry starts with the smallest child. They have only a sense of fun and friendship and that should be encouraged . There is no reason to fear the dentist. There never should be. We try to make friends from day one. And then we never look back. Ours is a family practice and we see kids for free. We might just count their teeth and send them away with a balloon and a smile but that can be the key to good dental habits forever. 

Unfortunately not everyone has a joyful story to tell about their dentist. Some have had very sorry experiences indeed. These events can leave a scar that lasts a lifetime and for some it is next to impossible to cross our door. Firstly, I can only apologise and sympathise. It should never be like that . It is inexcusable. But there is a better way to do dentistry. Mostly it starts with kindness and empathy. Listening helps too. With friendly highly professional staff, a comfortable place and a friendly smile and you might just begin to relax again. We pride ourselves at Ratoath Dental and Implant Centre on getting the little things right. The rest falls into place after that. Yes we can put you to sleep. We even have Nitrous Oxide (gas and air ) for especially nervous children. But the secret is in the kindness. The rest comes naturally. 

So what’s new ? Well we had to make our practice bigger last year ! We have smarter tools , better materials , fully computerized administration, digital low emission and zero waste xrays , CT scanners and so on. We hardly ever use amalgam in our fillings. In fact we spend much of our time taking out old metal fillings and swopping them for tooth coloured composite ones Cosmetic dentistry is front and centre now. High quality porcelain and amazing technicians ensure we can get aesthetic perfection. Braces can now be almost invisible. Digital scanning has mostly eliminated messy impressions. 

Perhaps the most exciting developments are in Implant dentistry. Dr Wilson Grigolli is among the finest implantologists in the World. A renowned surgeon who lectures throughout Europe we are very fortunate to have him in Ratoath. Using our computerized navigation system Wilson can place implants in previously impossible situations. Lack of bone is no longer an insurmountable problem. There is now almost no mouth that cannot be restored . Dentures are a thing of the past. This can be life changing for some. We can now offer ‘Teeth in a day’ where you can walk out with a full set of fixed or permanent teeth . With Dr Grigolli’s tremendous skill assisted by the very latest in dental technology the most exciting things are now happening  in our practice. 

But for all the changes that are happening and the fantastic new technology now available as my father who was a dentist in Navan for forty years used to say..’All you really need is kindness and a sense of humour.‘

Dr Conor Irwin  ( Ratoath Dental and Implant Centre )