Treating Patients Like They’re Family
Story by Jennifer Varney | Photography by Ethan Smith
Working on a person’s teeth today is something that will impact them for years to come. That’s why at O’Rourke Orthodontics, each and every appointment is important, not just the first or the last.
“When a parent walks in with their children for their first visit, I sit down with each and every one of them so that they can feel confident in the person treating their children,” says Dr. Christopher O’Rourke, practice founder. “It also provides me and my staff a chance to learn more about our new patient.” That’s the same level of care patients and families receive each and every time.
Dr. O’Rourke learned how to care for patients very early on in his career from two orthodontic legends in Knoxville: Dr. Mickey Crowell and Dr. Steve Ollard. He loves the profession and the process, which is why you find him personally treating each patient every time.
Learning from Mentors
While studying at the University of Tennessee, Dr. O’Rourke became an orthodontic patient at Dr. Crowell and Dr. Ollard’s practice in Bearden Hill. Not long after, he started working there, doing their lab work, making retainers, trimming models, and more. “They must have seen the potential in me and offered me a job,” he says.
As you can imagine, when you work closely with someone who believes in your abilities, your interest in their field becomes strong, and Dr. O’Rourke was eager to begin work to become an orthodontist.
He studied at the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences College of Dentistry in Memphis and came back to work at the practice with the two orthodontists. Ten years later, they separated their practices.
Treat Them Like People
Dr. O’Rourke has now been off on his own for more than 25 years, however, he still recalls the wise words Dr. Crowell shared with him on his first day of practicing. “The assistant walks in and said the patients are here, so I jumped up eager to start. But before I went out, Dr. Crowell said to me, ‘You’re getting ready to start your life’s work and if you go out there and treat every one of these people like your family, you’ll be richer than anything.’ And I feel like that’s what I’ve done and continue to do. I hope my patients feel it as well.
“We want to fit you, not make you to fit us,” Dr. O’Rourke says. “We want to know that you are a person or family whom we can ensure are happy in two years.”
He and his team ensure that as they look ahead to how they plan to treat a patient, they look beyond the timeline and at their patients as people. Even after patients are done, the team at O’Rourke Orthodontics continues to meet with them to ensure the care plan they intended is happening, to answer questions, to ensure everything is maintaining the way they anticipated. “We’re busy, but we also want to take care of people,” Dr. O’Rourke says, “and that’s what it’s all about.”
A Passionate Leader
I’ve worked with Dr. O’Rourke for 21 years, seven of which have been as his office manager. As years pass, we constantly are making changes to the way we work with families and adjusting to make the process even smoother, but the one thing that has remained the same is his passion and dedication for what he does. Here is a doctor who enjoys his work so immensely, who comes in from a run—he is a long-time marathon runner—ready to jump into appointments, interact with his patients, often going above and beyond to help someone.
He then takes that passion and spreads it throughout the community, working with young minds eying dentistry as their future. O’Rourke Orthodontics is all about community, and we can’t wait to help you and your family secure the smiles of your dreams.
GOLD: Dentist – Orthodontics
11226 W. Point Drive, Knoxville