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Relatively speaking: Philip and Debbie McLorinan

We ask personalities about the special family relationships in their lives

By Audrey Watson

Dentist Philip McLorinan and his wife, business manager Debbie, are preparing to celebrate the birthday of Dunmurry Dental Practice, which they started 10 years ago this Friday. When not fixing people's teeth, the busy couple enjoy winding down with a ride on their tandem bike

Name: Philip McLorinan

Age: 39

Occupation: Principal dentist and owner of Dunmurry Dental Practice

Relationship to Debbie: Husband

I've known Debbie for many years, as she is the sister of one of my school friends. We got married in 2002, after I proposed in Paris.

She is full of life, has a positive attitude, is fun-loving and always has a smile on her face. She's a great organiser, which allows me time to focus on patient care and the clinical aspects of the practice.

She is very supportive of everything I do and is a great mother to our three lovely children, Kiera (6), Maria (5) and Andrew (3).

I'm really proud that over the last 10 years, we've grown from a one-man operation into a six-surgery practice, winning numerous awards at a local and national level. And it's amazing that 10 years later, I still enjoy walking through the doors every morning.

Growing up, I always had a good experience of going to the dentist. I'm one of four children. My older brother, Greg, is an orthopedic surgeon, my younger brother Adrian is an optician and my baby sister Lucy is a pharmacist.

When I was young, I worked a lot with my dad on cars and realised I had good technical ability at working with my hands. Dentistry in essence is about caring for patients; the basic principles never really change. However, the technology used to deliver high-quality treatments is ever-changing. It's essential to constantly update and learn new skills.

As a family-centred practice, the majority of our patients attend for routine dental care. The most popular treatment at present is for straighter, whiter teeth -- as a result we now provide cosmetic orthodontics, including Six Month Smiles and Inman Aligner.

Working in Dunmurry where I grew up, many family and friends attend the practice. I see it as a compliment that they trust me to look after their teeth.


Name: Debbie McLorinan

Age: 41

Occupation: Business manager, Dunmurry Dental Practice

Relationship to Philip: Wife

We both enjoy cycling and the tandem was one of Philip's bright ideas. We bought the bike in 2005 and initially, I was a bit reluctant, as I could imagine all the 'Daisy, Daisy' jokes, but it's great fun.

Before the children came along we would have been on the bike a lot, but at one point we had three children under three, so the tandem had to take a back seat.

However, the last couple of years we've been getting out much more -- babysitters permitting.

We do a lot of charity cycles. The most recent was an 80k around Strangford Lough for Marie Curie. It's really great craic -- people love to chat to us when they see us on the tandem. And anyone who knows Philip knows that he likes a chat!

The usual banter is that I sit on the back, freewheeling, having a cuppa and reading a magazine -- that's not the case, though!

Philip loves his job and that is very apparent in his work and for patients. He is an optimist and a natural leader and has an amazing memory. As a husband, he is patient and fun and is a great dad.

Philip had been looking at buying an existing dental practice for some time. When we saw the property in Dunmurry, we both instantly knew it was the perfect location. We opened on May 2, 2004, initially as a one-dentist practice, growing to six dentists after an extension and refurbishment in 2010. We now have 21 staff in total.

I love the variety of my job. I had always dreamed of running my own business, but it wasn't until we opened the practice that it became a reality.

I'm responsible for everything in the background: human resources, finances, quality assurance, IT and marketing.

The key challenge is managing the cash flow, due to cuts in NHS funding and ever increasing costs. Another challenge is doing a full day's work in five hours so that I can make it to the school gates to get the kids on time.

We do bring our work home -- we are always chatting about the business and often work from home in the evenings. But we feel really lucky because we both enjoy it so much and work so well together as a team.


Having a nice smile and taking care of your teeth is becoming a lot more important to people in Northern Ireland, says Philip.

"Patients have become much more aware of what cosmetic options are available", he says.

"There has been a huge increase in cosmetic dental treatment here, especially teeth whitening and straightening.

"There is also an increasing awareness of mouth cancer and the importance of regular check-ups to maintain oral health and spot early signs of gum disease and other problems. To celebrate our 10th birthday, we have a teeth whitening offer of £129 and a free Six Month Smile consultation, during May."

For details, visit Dunmurry Dental Practice, 105 Kingsway, Dunmurry, tel: 028 9061 3322.


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