This month marks our 40th anniversary (but there’s actually been a dental practice in our building for 75 years – since 1948!) To gain a perspective of how things have changed over the decades we speak to our practice manager Dee Sadler who has been with us at Triangle for 39 years.

Q: Dee, can you give us a brief history of Triangle Dental?

There has been a dental surgery in our building since just after the second world war when Justin Pearce first opened the door to patients in Tilehurst in 1948. In 1983, David Cottam took over which then became Triangle Dental with Giles Derry, Pete Kaspar and James Pegg at the helm. Giles later took sole charge until 2019 when the current owners – Chris Read and Jon Cowie took over the reins.

Q: You have been working at Triangle for 39 years (33 of those as the practice manager), have you seen many changes over that time?

Looking at how far we’ve come, it’s safe to say a lot has changed over the last 40 years. In the early days there were only 2 surgeries downstairs, as opposed to the 5 surgeries we have now over 2 floors. We had one room for taking x-rays, which doubled as the stock room and dark room for nurses to develop the x-rays; patients now have x-rays taken in the comfort of each dental chair. The warm, friendly welcome, in a relaxed and homely atmosphere, was there from the start. Patient comfort has been, and always will be, of the utmost importance to the Triangle team.

Today, the focus is on minimally invasive dentistry and prevention over cure, providing an improved patient experience. Since I joined, our patient base is ever expanding, staff members have tripled and our practice has evolved to become a specialist treatments provider. We now offer most dental treatments in-house, including tooth implants, crowns, and root canal treatment, whereas 40 years ago we would have needed to refer our patients to a specialist practice.

Q: What would you say has been the biggest change?

In general, in the last 40 years, everything has improved, and this is thanks to new working practices and technologies. One of our biggest advances was computerising the patient paper notes and appointment system in 2015. It felt a nervous time, but we soon realised this was a better, more efficient system for patients and staff alike. We recently introduced online booking for certain appointments and hope to expand this, which is a further advance for our patients’ convenience.

Q: Why do you think Triangle has been able to achieve such longevity?

Triangle Dental is founded on the simple belief – to provide patients with excellence in dental care within a friendly, caring and comfortable environment. We have always stayed true to this mission and I believe that is why our patients stay with us. We’ve also been able to evolve alongside our patients’ changing needs. As an example, patients are now keener for cosmetic dentistry, so we offer Invisalign, virtually invisible teeth straightening – 40 years ago the only option was silver ‘train-track’ braces. White fillings have become much more common, often replacing the old Amalgam silver fillings. To compliment cosmetic dentistry, we also now offer facial aesthetics for a rejuvenated appearance that really help to boost our patients’ confidence and help them feel amazing.

Q: What has been the highlight of your time with the Practice?

As well as seeing how dentistry has changed over the years, the highlight for me has always been our close-knit team and being surrounded by lovely patients. All the dentists and staff members are incredibly supportive, we all look after each other.

Q: What is the Practice doing in recognition of this big milestone?

Our birthday celebrations started earlier this month with our Invisalign Open Days with many of patients receiving free cosmetic consultations and discounts on Invisalign and whitening treatments.   

As part of our dedication to the wider community, we will also be continuing with our regular school visits to teach valuable oral health education. Early education is the key to teeth health and these visits are vital particularly for those children who may not have access to regular dental care.

And finally for our dedicated and hardworking team, we will celebrate with cake for all (sugar-free of course!) and a fun party at the end of the year.

Q: Finally, what does the future hold for Triangle Dental?

I think digital dentistry will become much more prevalent. We’re lucky to have intra-oral scanners at the practice, which negates the need for traditional, messy impressions, and hugely improves patient comfort. I expect the use of these scanners to become more standard, allowing us to monitor tooth movement, tooth wear and gum problems in more detail. The scanner also allows us to send scans of your teeth straight to the lab for quicker and more accurately fitting lab work. We are also working hard to digitise as many of the administrative elements as possible (such as online booking) to make the patient journey quicker and easier.

On behalf of Jon, Chris and the entire Triangle Dental team, we would like to thank all of our patients who’ve become part of our family. We appreciate your loyalty and look forward to treating you over the next 40 years and see what advances that may bring!