Taken from the Article in The Probe Nov 18
A warmer, friendlier dentist you could not wish to meet. With almost 41 years in dentistry under his belt, Andy Michalcewicz is perhaps one of the longest qualified, still practising, dentists in the Manchester area. With his career continuing to flourish, Andy reminisces about how he landed in dentistry, a chance meeting with an old friend that led to his first practice purchase and the latest chapter in the development of the practice.
“I made the decision to go into dentistry when I was 8 or 9 years old. After a few bad experiences with the dentist I thought to myself, “I could do a better job.” I gained the results I required at school and found I was good with my hands through a love of model building and playing musical instruments. Encouraged by my mother, who was the senior theatre nursing officer at Wythenshawe Hospital and responsible for running 20+ operating theatres, I studied dentistry at Sheffield University and after completing my training, became an Associate at a practice in Stockport.
“I used to meet a dentist friend for a pint every Wednesday. One week, while we were chatting, another old friend arrived by chance, someone I hadn’t seen for over 15 years. It was a fabulous reunion and we had a great evening catching up on everyone’s news. During the course of the evening my friend happened to mention that his future father-in-law, also a dentist, was in the process of selling his dental practice. Since this dentist and practice had an excellent reputation, I was intrigued. “The sale was almost complete but my friend’s future father-in-law wasn’t happy with the T&C’s and it didn’t seem certain that the sale would come to a satisfactory conclusion. It was probably an ‘off the cuff’ remark at the time but I asked my friend to get his father-in-law to call me if the sale fell through. It was a few weeks later when I got a surprise call to say the sale was off and was I interested. To cut a long story short, I became the proud owner on 1st April 1981.”
Andy’s new practice was an end terrace building, on WashWay Road, Sale, next to Mecca Bingo. His business thrived there for 19 years before Andy took the decision to relocate a mile away to a larger property. He explains, “We just could not accommodate our growing patient base so I started to look around for suitable new premises and found a detached residential property that seemed perfect for conversion to a dental practice. The downside was that it was already being pursued by a physiotherapy business, but the sale was proceeding slowly. With some persuasion, I managed to get the owner to agree they would sell to whoever could be ready to exchange contracts first. Needless to say, we were successful and opened Ash Villa in January 2000.” The new property gave Andy’s practice the room it needed to expand. Moving all the equipment from the Washway Road property, they kitted out two surgeries, and in 2003, opened a third surgery upstairs in the former front bedroom. Fast forward 14 years to 2017 and prompted by the departure of his long serving hygienist, Andy started to think about bringing the third surgery up to date. With Brooke, the new therapist/hygienist on board, he set about planning a modern new room they could share.
The starting place for their planning was the Belmont showroom at Salford Quays. Andy explains, “I had been tempted to install a Belmont chair 15 years ago but at the time was persuaded to install another brand. This time I decided I would take another look, as many of my dentist colleagues and service engineers recommended them highly.
“At the showroom Mark Harris patiently took us through all the options. We settled on the compact Compass electric model with two micro-motors and the 5-to-1 speed increasing hand piece, as I really like the control and torque. Both Brooke and I felt the delivery system would work well and the ergonomic design makes it easy for the patient to access extremely comfortably. I particularly liked the LED operating light too.
“We contacted Simon Pearce at McKillops for help with the refurbishment work. Simon came over to the practice and one evening, together with Brooke, we planned out the room layout plus a new decontamination room under the stairs and made our wish list for the kit and equipment we wanted.”
Starting work in April the refurbishment project took just three weeks to complete, which included rewiring the first-floor electrics and all the plastering, plumbing, flooring, decorating and installation of the new equipment, cabinetry and chair. The service delivered by McKillops impressed Andy, “They’ve been a fantastic bunch of people to work with. Clearly Simon has lots of experience and is able to anticipate potential problems and work them out. Throughout, he liaised closely with Julie, my Practice Manager, to ensure dates were co-ordinated and she is extremely complimentary about the professionalism of the whole team. “Due to Simon’s careful planning we were able to keep the practice open with very little disruption to the patients, which as everyone knows, is vital in the dental world. I’m really thrilled with how it has turned out and the patients love it too.”
Andy has absolutely no regrets. “The plan now is to celebrate the official opening of the new room with all my great team and, of course, the McKillop team. I’m sure they’ll be a ribbon cutting and a glass or two of fizz for all too.”