How We’ve Grown
For 61 years and counting, patients have been turning to Gwynedd Dental Associates for dental care of the highest quality
by Bill Donahue

So much has changed since 1955, when a dentist named Ralph MacMurtrie, D.D.S., founded his dental practice in the quaint Montgomery County town of Spring House.

The practice, now known as Gwynedd Dental Associates, has grown to offer a diverse number of dental services—from general and cosmetic dentistry to dental implants and orthodontics—all provided by a team of highly skilled dental professionals in one location. Likewise, the technology used to help deliver positive patient outcomes has evolved far beyond what Dr. MacMurtrie, or anyone else, could have imagined back then. Similarly, the office’s aesthetics have changed, too, now more closely resembling an upscale living room complete with a fine art gallery instead of a conventional dental suite.

One thing, however, has not changed in the past 61 years: The practice’s focus has always been on providing personalized, patient-first dental care of the highest quality.

“Gwynedd Dental was designed for the busy working person or the busy stay-at-home individual, offering services that are usually done all within this office,” says Charles H. Sacks, D.M.D., who purchased Gwynedd Dental Associates from Dr. MacMurtrie in 1986. “We have a long-term staff with low turnover, as most of our staff has been with us for 26, 27 years. We like to treat our employees well so they treat our patients well.”

Although the strong connection between patients and staff members has helped foster long-term relationships, Dr. Sacks attributes Gwynedd Dental’s success to its ability to provide the continuum of high-quality dental care in a caring, convenient and comfortable atmosphere.

“Working in cosmetic and restorative dentistry fulfills my passion for health care and also allows me to be artistic at the same time,” says Dr. Sacks. “A patient can go from having a broken tooth to receiving a root canal to having a finished crown, all in the same visit. By offering this continuity of care, we’re cutting down on the amount of time patients have to come here, which means they don’t have to take off as many days from work and in the long run it ultimately costs them less.”

With every patient interaction, Gwynedd Dental aims to make life easier for patients, according to Carlos Mirabal, D.M.D., a native of Havana, Cuba, who is bilingual and speaks Spanish fluently as a convenience to Spanish-speaking patients. For example, the practice offers early morning and early evening hours, as well as occasional Saturday hours, to accommodate patients’ active schedules.

“Our approach to keeping patients happy is a simple one,” says Dr. Mirabal, a graduate of Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry. “We treat patients the way we would want to be treated while utilizing the most advanced dental methods of treatment for their care.”

Each member of Gwynedd Dental’s team of dental professionals focuses on a specific area of dentistry. For Dr. Sacks, it’s crowns, restorations and other cosmetic dentistry. For Dr. Mirabal, it’s root canals and veneers. For Marko Jeftic, D.M.D., it’s dental implants. And for board-certified periodontist Alex Volchonok, D.M.D., it’s periodontal issues. Together, they offer the full continuum of dental services, from preventive and restorative care to periodontal, endodontic and orthodontic care, even teeth bleaching—all while keeping affordability in mind. Gwynedd Dental is also a big proponent of anti-aging dentistry, according to Dr. Sacks.

“As the population ages, quality dental care becomes more important than ever,” he says. “People often get Botox and dermal fillers to make themselves looks younger. We offer those services.  Who better to deliver these treatments than a dentist who is schooled in facial structure? A youthful smile may be achieved by adding back some of the volume in the mid-face that we inevitably lose with age.”

However, one of the most important things anyone can do is to maintain their dental health, because the teeth and the bone that supports them support the lips, cheeks and chin. Gwynedd Dental does everything it can to help patients maintain their natural teeth, but dental implants may be the next best thing if keeping one’s natural teeth is not an option.

Beyond dental work, the practice includes a wellness spa (A’nu’me), offering onsite massages, facials and other therapeutic treatments. The spa provides the same aesthetically rich climate of the dental office, which is adorned with original art. The spa and dental office complement one another in providing progressive, relaxing and curative services to all of the practice’s patients. 

“Quality of life is so very important,” Dr. Sacks says. “That’s one of the reasons we also offer implant-supported dentures as a very large part of our services. They can go a long way to improving an aesthetically compromised smile. Also, most people of any age get a lot of joy out of eating, and with implant-supported dentures, they are sturdy enough so you can eat anything you want, even corn on the cob. Nobody has to be in a partial denture anymore.

“In this economy, there are many offices that have had to ‘cut’ in order to remain competitive, but we have expanded services,” he continues. “We have had to adjust some of our fees in order to help patients, but we will not allow the quality of the dentistry being offered in this office to be affected by the economy. We’re constantly upgrading and maintaining to make sure each patient is comfortable with their procedure and with the whole experience we offer here.”

Such upgrades and maintenance certainly apply to technology, which is one of Gwynedd Dental’s key distinctions. For example, a Planmeca CAD/CAM restorative system produces perfectly fitted crowns, inlays and onlays for a patient, within a single visit. Likewise, digital radiography provides ultra-clear X-rays of patients’ mouths to aid in diagnosis and treatment, all while exposing patients to almost zero radiation. Lastly, to assist in patient education, video imagers installed in every dentistry suite provide digital images of a patient’s mouth so he or she can see exactly what is happening before, during and after a procedure.

As part of its dedication to patients’ overall health and well-being, Gwynedd Dental is devoted to being “a metal-free office,” according to Dr. Sacks. This means the practice uses only biocompatible materials in the patient’s mouth; crowns are made of ceramic material, while dental fillings contain no silver or gray material. Patients are offered local anesthesia for delicate procedures, while nitrous oxide is available for patients who have severe anxiety. The practice is currently exploring the feasibility of adding sleep dentistry, which places patients in a “twilight state,” as another option for phobic patients.

“This is an office that cares about its patients as individual people,” says Dr. Sacks. “We do everything in our power to make it convenient for them, which includes accomplishing as much as possible in one visit. We go above and beyond to maintain a safe, clean and beautiful environment here, and we keep our patients as comfortable as possible—before, during and after their procedure. If you ask any of our patients, you will find this is true whether they’re here for a routine cleaning, spa treatment or a complete smile restoration.”

Gwynedd Dental Associates
921 N. Bethlehem Pike
Spring House, PA 19477

Photography by Jody Robinson