BY MAEVE KEATING
Special to the VOICE
Fonthill has had more reason to smile over the past several months with a new startup dental practice owned and headed by Dr. Thomas McMurran. Although McMurran took over Fonthill Marketplace Dental less than a year ago, he and his staff have increased the office hours and expanded their patient pool from approximately 60 to some 250.
While the previous owner/practitioner exercised a shared practice, operating with a “revolving door-style” rotating pool of dentists, McMurran believes the uptake in patient attendance can be partially attributed to the consistency of seeing a single dentist.
“In my experience, patients want to see the same face every [visit]. They don’t want to feel like a number. It kind of holds you accountable too. You get to know the patients better when you’re seeing the same ones over and over again,” McMurran says, maintaining that regular one-on-one face time with the owner/practitioner of a practice is crucial to building trust and a comfortable environment.
“I’ve always wanted to be able to grow something…to be part of a community. Not just working on their teeth, but also committing to the community for the long-term.”
Originally from Burlington, McMurran was able to study and practice under the tutelage of his own childhood dentist and mentor, Dr. Dave Fielding, a family dentist of 39 years. McMurran credits Fielding for his ongoing love of family dentistry, his desire to advance his education, and to seek out the latest technology and equipment for his practice.
Stepping farther back in the story, McMurran only began his schooling and career in dentistry after studying neurobiological behaviours and anxiety disorders at Western and McMaster Universities.
“My prior life,” as McMurran describes it, “set me up for having more empathy towards people that suffer from anxiety disorders, which has been a benefit going into dentistry.”
McMurran asserts the largest demographic of patients most commonly phobic when it comes to dentist visits are Baby Boomers, broadly speaking those 50-years-old and older.
This type of anxiety “often stems from one bad experience in childhood,” McMurran says. While it’s easy to point the finger at some of the more archaic dental practices used in the past, McMurran is confident in today’s methods.
“The way dentistry has evolved since then is definitely more patient-centric now.”
McMurran says that Pelham is a great place to practice.
“Everybody is very friendly, very welcoming, and I’m enjoying it.”
Fonthill Marketplace Dental, located inside the PharmaChoice building next to Food Basics, is currently accepting new patients, and encourages those who struggle with anxiety around dentist appointments to schedule a consultation.
When he is not to be found in the office, McMurran enjoys fishing, hiking, and visiting with family across the Niagara region.