Words Kirk Truman
Photography Thanos Livas
“It wasn’t my idea. My Dad has amazing ideas generally. My dad knew that I liked the arts and sciences so he said to me why not study dentistry.”
I suppose there is much we commit to phobia; water, wriggling insects and health issues. No matter where your phobias may take you, or indeed what they may cause you to evade, undoubtedly overcoming them lies in trust and assurance. Fear not, for there is no phobia here but expertise and an abundance of trust, care and precision in this wonderful business that truly has come to capture me and take me beyond health care. Irene Kaimakamis tells me of her career in dentistry that led to the founding of K Dental Studios, Fitzrovia’s newest private dental practice.
Irene tells me that in her teenage years she, like so many of us, was terribly unsure as to what she could envision taking up as a career. With her passion lying in arts and sciences, the contrast between the two did not appear so dissimilar. Perhaps slightly adverse to the idea at first, her father proposed that she moved toward dentistry. “It wasn’t my idea,” she tells me “My Dad has amazing ideas generally. My dad knew that I liked the arts and sciences so he said to me why not study dentistry.” It was during a work placement that Irene had her first encounter with dentistry. She saw an extraction being performed and begun to instantly feel intrigued by the practitioner. She thought the skill, precision and technique of this form of healthcare to be something she wanted to pursue. Upon completing her studies she began a vocational training job which she describes as “working under the wings of somebody else.” Following this, she provided NHS and private care in north London, where she also taught dentistry once a week. She soon began to pursue a new direction in her career when she realised that she wanted to be able to offer more to her patients. She started a 1 year full time Master’s degree in Conservative Dentistry. “It was the toughest thing I had ever done in training. The course was intense, involving me spending lots of long nights in the lab preparing things and I often received heavy critique from tutors” she explains.
Wanting to focus predominantly on providing a relaxed and comforting experience for her clients; after 7 years of working in various practices Irene decided that it was time to go it alone and begin her own business. And so the challenge to find a team of dental experts to work alongside her in the practice, and to create the practice itself began. She first discussed this prospect with her cousin Pano (also a dentist) who agreed it was the right time to open a practice together. Keeping it in the family, Irene and Pano decided to start the business as a team, first of all seeking for a location to host it. I wasn’t long until the search led them to 116 Great Portland Street, Fitzrovia. They were attracted to the mix of transients and residents in the area, and the balance of big business and small independent shops that make up the neighbourhood. They found the location to be ideal for the practice. “Our families and their property development business, Atlas Property Lettings Ltd, played a big role in helping us find and develop this space. They have been behind us every step of the way,” says Irene, quick to accredit the support she received throughout her journey.
Irene was particularly attracted to the space itself. The skylight at the rear of the practice was a particular feature that would enable her to create what she had in mind. “I thought to myself ‘how wonderful it would be to have a relaxing space for seeing my patients, with state of the art equipment for undertaking treatments and taking x-rays, a decontamination room for effective sterilisation, rather than the nurses cleaning in the surgeries.’ It would mean I would have my own laboratory where I could plan and prepare work for patients and also liaise with all the specialists in the practice about the patients’ treatments.” Irene’s designer Thanos, aided the creative side of the business by focusing on the logo and online branding of the practice. This helped Irene and MEraki Design achieve their ideas for the interior of the practice, which were executed by Pelican Contractors Ltd. who created a minimal and comfortable atmosphere for clients.
Irene and Pano wanted to create an environment that was calm, clean and peaceful for all. Most fitting to compliment this was receptionist Martina Spano who welcomes all guests and helps in organising the smooth running of the practice, all while Marija Rapaic their dental nurse, ensures that the patients are comfortable while undergoing treatment and the environment is kept clean. At K Dental Studios, a focus of the business has been in building a team of experts in a variety of dental fields. The team is made up of an array of dental specialists: a root canal expert, orthodontist, gum expert and an oral surgeon all of whom can initially assist the client. “The practice itself is no ordinary dental practice, but a practice where experts in all fields offer patients complete and quality dental care under one roof,” explains Irene.
Today the dentists and specialists at the practice are working on complex cases together which could require orthodontic intervention, gum treatment, reconstructive and implant work. “The preparatory work in the laboratory is a big help, where we can sit down to discuss and plan with clinical photographs and waxed up study models,” says Irene.
K Dental Studios opened its doors in April last year. From the front of house through to consultation, the patient process at the practice is thoroughly calming. Irene and her team are not only experts in dentistry, but effortless specialists in calming and assuring patients through day-to-day check-ups and procedures, and more often than not the common phobia of dentistry. Expert advice is on hand regarding all dental issues ranging from diet to general health and lifestyle; in short any aspect integral to the upkeep of healthy teeth.
The treatment of patients is an amalgamation of relaxation, intrigue and guidance. The K Dental Studios team are quick to explain the history of a patient’s mouth, through photographs and x-rays, which themselves give an in-depth insight in to their lifestyle. The staff were able to advise me as to what particular food and drink I should avoid in order to keep my teeth and gums healthy; explaining acidic drinks and their effects, as well as showing me how I can still enjoy these things whilst avoiding damage.
With a range of dental treatments available, Irene and her team have begun treating local residents and visitors to the area alike. The practice itself also believes in giving as much back to the industry by hosting quarterly onsite lectures for dentists through their Study Club. As a practice with a strong focus on quality over quantity, and of course treatment itself, the attention goes to building relationships with the local area, including an interest in being involved with local schools to try to raise oral health awareness. The practice is firmly becoming a stalwart of the area with April marking the one year anniversary of K Dental Studios.