SmileMakers History | Then & Now with Dr. Greg Romriell

Today, Smilemakers Dental is comprised of a team dedicated to solving a unique problem. We passionately work towards changing the negative perceptions of going to the dentist. In order to change the way people feel about going to the dentist, it's important to make it an enjoyable experience and do so consistently. In many ways, we work to offer an experience during dental appointments that no one expects to be refreshing or truly worth smiling about. This article is dedicated to showcasing that these efforts span back as early as 1969 when Dr. Greg Romriell first became a dentist and would eventually, alongside his wonderful colleague Dr. Errol Ormond, create the SmileMakers brand. Dr. Greg wanted to ensure that their dental practice would be different than others. Even then, it was all about making sure patients felt comfortable, had access to affordable dentistry, and felt like they were genuinely cared for. The SmileMakers brand has since been successfully led by Dr. Paul Romriell, Dr. Greg's, son. In the video below Dr. Greg proudly reflects on the past and also confirms that not only have his own and Dr. Errol's plans been carried on, but they're constantly being refined with insights to result in a better and better experience for our patients (several of which used to receive treatment from Dr. Greg and Dr. Errol Ormond.) Feel free to watch the video below or read the dialogue if that suits you better!

Q: Dr. Greg, what kind of doctor are you?

A: I am the best doctor. :) I'm Dr. Greg Romriell. I am from Pocatello, Idaho. I've lived for many years in Pocatello and Chubbuck and I love this place!

Q: When did you become a dentist and help create SmileMakers?

A: I started in dentistry in 1970 -- no, 1969, actually! I started SmileMakers in 2003 . . . 2004? Gosh, I can't really remember.

Dr. Ormond and I had been part of Pocatello Dental Group and when that ended he and I decided we still wanted to practice dentistry together. So we talked and wondered, should we call our dental practice "Romriell & Ormond"? I said, "No, I want to have something that people can think positively about and identify that as who we are." If you hear "Romriell & Ormond" is that an attorney's office or a business or what? That doesn't mean anything to anybody.

At that point, I had a list of 10 names that I had come up with. I went to everyone that I knew and asked them to put a checkmark next to the #1 name they liked or enjoyed. SmileMakers won 9/10 times. So, that's how I came up with "SmileMakers" and the rest is history. It's a name that people hear and they remember. It's not a name associated with pain or economics . . . it's associated with smiling. That's happiness. That's joy. That's enjoying life!

Q: How do you feel about SmileMakers now led by your son, Dr. Paul?

A: I'm excited! One of my primary concerns, when I was getting to the point of retirement, was having someone who could come in and take care of my patients. I wanted them to provide the same quality of care that I always gave my patients. I did not want a young doctor to come in, no matter how good he/she is, they're never quite ready -- they've got a ways to go. The practice of dentistry is just that and the longer you practice the better you are and the better you get. So, I was always afraid if I had many young doctors come in, good men and women, that wanted to come in and become associates -- I just, I never accepted it. With Paul, that was not the case! He was not a young doctor. A "fresh out of the box doctor". He had graduated from doctorate school and did an additional 4 years of post-doctorate school where you're doing very intense and challenging dentistry that most people, most dentists, can't do. And then he practiced for several years in twin falls with his own practice where he could perfect those skills that I was most concerned about. So, I was excited to have him take over the practice. I'm very pleased with what he's done with the office and how he's perpetuated the quality and care that I always provided. I've talked with many patients that used to be my own and are still with SmileMakers Dental and everyone has been very satisfied and happy with the care they've received.

Q: What made you want to become a dentist?

A: I really don't know what was the inspiration for becoming a dentist. When I was 14 years old and I received my Eagle Scout board review I was asked, "What do you want be when you grow up?" And I popped out, "I want to be a dentist!" People said and I thought to myself "Woah, that would be cool -- to be a dentist." Then i just started paying attention to other dentists and their lifestyles and I've never wanted to anything else since that point in time. I tell people when I say, "I'm going to work." I'm really telling a white lie. I'm not going to work. I'm going to play and be with my friends! :)

Q: What makes Dr. Paul Romriell the best dentist in Pocatello?

A: Hey, when you graduate from dental school you don't know how to do more complex dentistry. By complex dentistry, we're talking about replacing teeth, replacing jaw bone, replacing gum tissue, and replacing structures that have been lost from trauma or disease.

How do we take those lost structures of your physical body and make them work in a normal, natural, functional, and comfortable way? That's what Paul has learned to do. He can take a debilitated mouth that has been destroyed from neglect or accident and restore it back to its optimal function. There really aren't many dentists that can do that!

Q: Are we crazy for trying to make "going to the dentist" enjoyable?

A: Haha, I think the success of any practice has to have that behind it. Your technical skills are assumed, whether you have them or not, everyone assumed you have it. Patients are incapable of judging the quality of work that you do. The only way that patients can judge you is "Did my doctor hurt me?" People know if they got hurt or not. They assume if you hurt them then you're doing something wrong or you've messed up, whether that's reality or not. They know how they feel and they know how you make them feel. They know if they feel you're actually concerned for them. People don't really remember specifics of events, but they will remember how they feel about a specific event. I think the direction you are all going, putting your emphasis on feelings and emotions, is really critical to the growth of SmileMakers. The practice won't grow if you don't get new patients. you don't get new patients unless they're talking about what you're doing and telling their friends. Yeah, you can put your name out there --- you can put SmileMakers on everyone's corner lot and it doesn't mean anything to anyone until the actually need a dentist. At that point, they're going to talk to their neighbor and go, "Gosh, I have this tooth problem, who do you know?" -- They're neighbor can reply, "Oh SmileMakers did a really great job with me." You see? -- So yeah, I think you guys are going a really great direction.


This concludes the interview with Dr. Greg. Thank you for taking the time to learn a little about the history of SmileMakers and how the past connects to who we are today. We look forward to continuing to take care of your smiles. If you are new to our practice feel free to reach out any time with questions or concerns regarding your oral health. Our phone number is (208) 478-5700. Special thanks go out to Dr. Greg and Dr. Ormond who have paved the way for better dentistry via SmileMakers and for raising the bar on the quality of dental treatment dentist should provide, worldwide.

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