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25th June 2018

Pembroke Dental explains how they put their award-winning entries

How did they do it? Marie McLoughlin of Pembroke Dental explains how they put their award-winning entries together over the years

When we found out that we had won two awards at this year’s Irish Dentistry Awards, we were over the moon.

The last few years have seen us make many changes to our practice and we have grown in more ways than one.

Awards can be a great team morale booster and it’s safe to say that winning Best Practice in Leinster and Munster and Best Child Friendly Practice this year did not disappoint.

Since our humble beginnings back in 1993, no one could have known that by the time 2018 came around, we would have won five Irish Dentistry Awards, successfully run Ireland’s first child dental health education club, and expanded to five dental practices across the south-east.

When the practice first started, our principal dentist Dr Brenda Barrett decided to take over a small local dental practice in Carlow at just 27 years old – one that she, herself, had been coming to as a child.

Our awards are now proudly displayed at our Carlow practice and are a recognition of our team of dentists and nurses, and Brenda’s drive and dedication to never sit still and always strive to improve and expand the services and high quality treatments we offer.

Winning them has meant more to us than just a publicity boost – it has really championed the way we work with families, adults and nervous patients and strengthened confidence in our core ethos of putting our patients’ dental health and general needs at the heart of all we do.


Standing out

Although our team is larger and spread across different practices now, each team member has been carefully chosen by Brenda to ensure that everyone our patients come into contact with, is totally on board with our core philosophy.

Our motto here has always been: ‘Cared for by people who know you and who you know too’. We have taken time to make sure that this runs throughout every new practice, initiative and project that we embark on and we were sure to communicate this in our award entries.


Child friendly

After many years of running our after-school dental health club for under 12s – the Cool Clean Club – designed to engage and teach children about good dental health habits through games and experiments, we decided to expand the initiative to teenagers.

Rachel Murphy, our oral health educator who is well known for her warm and friendly welcome at reception, worked together with our hygienist and Brenda to tailor her sessions for older children.

For a week over the summertime, she spent many afternoons talking with teenagers about lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking and sugary snacks and offering advice on how they could keep their teeth and mouths healthy.

She found that, with a listening ear and an understanding approach, she was able to engage with teenagers and leave them with something to take home. These sessions were free and very popular.

Both our Cool Clean Club and teen week initiative were things that we focused on as part of our Best Child Friendly Practice entries, which we were thrilled to have won two years in a row.


Delight in the day to day

We feel that our additional dental health innovations were the icing on the cake for our entries, but we were also keen to focus on our day-to-day duties.

The range of skilled dental professionals here, from our prosthodontist to our general dentists, our lab team to our nurses and reception, mean that we have most types of dental treatment under the same roof.

This means that patients will see the same nurses and team members throughout their treatment, however complex, which is often a great reassurance when someone is feeling nervous.

However, we don’t just believe that our practice stands out from the crowd because of our range of treatments and specialist dental services. It really is because, time and time again, our patient feedback tells us so.

Within our award entries, we communicated some of the positive feedback we have received from patients as well as a few examples of the clinical results that we have achieved together, which is vital.


The secret?

If we were to give advice to a colleague or friend who was thinking about entering an award, we would say that, above all, you should think about your practice from your patients’ perspective. Emphasise all that you do to go the extra mile in making sure that their treatment journey is as pleasant and professional as possible.

If, like us, you are proud of your caring team, shout about it! You may see your colleagues every day, but an exceptional team member who goes the extra way to support nervous patients or has a special way with children can make all the difference to someone who might not have visited the dentist in years.

Here are a few more tips from our practice to yours:

  • Be sure to showcase some clinical evidence
  • Think about how you deliver the highest quality of care to your patients
  • Shout about your wonderful team and all they do.


Thank you

Thank you to all of our staff, colleagues, friends and patients who have been with us throughout our journey. We are so grateful for the ongoing support of our team and families who help make us who we are.

Finally, we wish all future entrants and finalists of the Irish Dentistry Awards the very best of luck!

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