This month’s Partner Spotlight features Dr. Todd McClenaghan, principal dentist, South 40 Dental, Grande Prairie, Alberta. We discussed what excites him most about dentistry, what makes his practice team special, and the best career advice he’s received.
Tell us about your journey into dentistry and how you came into practice at South 40 Dental.
I knew early that I wanted to pursue a career in medical sciences, but I didn’t know what that would look like for me. I spent much of my early college years talking to as many people as I could. The dentists all seemed happy with their career path and many doctors encouraged me to become a dentist. Dentistry has been an exciting and fulfilling career path. I realized as early as three months into my career as an associate that my personality was more suited to being the owner/principal dentist of my own clinic. I found a vacant commercial space and began to build what would become South 40 Dental. Starting a practice from scratch definitely presented many challenges, but it has been very rewarding to watch the clinic grow.
What excites you most about practicing dentistry?
On a day-to-day basis, I love interacting with our team and patients. I am a very social person and love learning about other peoples’ lives and what makes them unique and special. There are so many extraordinary people that I have been able to meet through dentistry. I also love that dentistry is a field that is always changing and progressing; technology and research are at an all-time high which makes this such an exciting field to be a part of.
What makes South 40 Dental special?
Without question, it’s our team that makes South 40 Dental special. We make it a priority to hire for personality, knowing we can train for skill. Our team is fantastic, and it sets the tone for the entire office. Everyone comes to work with a positive, hardworking attitude because they know how important their role is to the success of the office. Our patients definitely notice the difference our team makes to their experience.
In your eyes, what makes for an exceptional patient experience?
Our goal is always to exceed our patients’ expectations. We place immense value on customer service and patient comfort, as well as educating our patients so that they can feel confident in their treatment plans. There are a lot of patients who are nervous and hesitant about going to the dentist, and we feel we have a special opportunity to change their perception of dentistry.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
When I was first building South 40 Dental, I worked as an associate for Dr. Terry Pukanich at Slave Lake Dental, who was an exceptional mentor. I learned so many valuable lessons from my time there, but one thing she said truly stuck with me and guided me when making decisions for my new office. She told me to “Think Big.” At the time, I was trying to decide how many operatories to put in, and her words echoed through many of the decisions I made, keeping me focused on the bigger picture and long-term goals for my young practice.