Friendship, passion and giving back at the core of this successful partnership

Daniel Sable (BDSc 1995, PGDipClinDent 2002, MDSc (Clin) 2002) and Andrew Pepicelli
(BDSc 1994, PGDipClinDent 2003, MDSc (Clin) 2003) are Melbourne Dental School alumni, long-time business partners and honorary staff members at the University of Melbourne.

Having met during university, Daniel and Andrew now own and operate Sable and Pepicelli Orthodontics in Chadstone and Peninsula Orthodontics in Mornington.

“We were loosely acquainted with each other in Dental School, however, we became close friends during our postgraduate program in orthodontics, which we finished one year apart.

“Because we had developed an intimate knowledge of each other’s personal values, work ethic, clinical skills and business aspirations, going into partnership was a logical choice for us. Our partnership is now 16 years young, and we feel very lucky to have embarked on this professional journey together.”

Both worked in general dental practice before moving into orthodontics. Andrew was inspired by the positive impacts orthodontic treatment had on his patients’ lives.

“I distinctly remember how keen many of my patients were to ‘show off’ their teeth to me after their fixed appliances were removed and how proud patients were that they had achieved a significant milestone in their lives. This was something that I felt I needed to be a part of!”

Daniel was drawn to the transformative nature of orthodontics and the ongoing opportunities for professional refinement.

“As a general dentist, I became fascinated at how patients with significant malocclusions when I referred them out, came back from the orthodontist with a perfect bite and a radiant smile.

“One of the things I love about orthodontics is that I have never stopped learning. Experience does not necessarily make you a better orthodontist, as every patient and every malocclusion is different. The challenges of attaining an excellent result are there just as much today as they were on my first day out in practice.”

With two successful clinics to run, workdays are typically busy but rewarding.

“We usually get into the office early, to catch up on admin and any outstanding emails. Patient care is carried out between 8.00 am and 5.30 pm. The day varies between adjustments of fixed and removable appliances and checking aligners, new patient and review consultations, bondings and debands.

“We went in thinking that we would improve a patient’s smile or occlusion, without realising that we sometimes have a positive impact on their development as a person. “The gratitude that patients show during or after treatment is certainly one of the more surprising, yet satisfying, aspects of our work.”

As honorary staff members at Melbourne Dental School, Andrew and Daniel support the education of the next generation of orthodontic professionals. Both lecture part-time in the Doctor of Dental Surgery program and ‘Introduction to Orthodontics’ continuing education program. Andrew is currently a Clinical Demonstrator in the postgraduate orthodontic program, a role Daniel has also held previously.

“Interacting with the postgraduate students is a highly rewarding aspect of our work at the Dental School. Being constantly questioned by the postgrads about treatment planning and/or clinical decisions, as well as treatment mechanics, benefits us as much as them.

“Because they are up to date with new developments in the literature and are often willing to try new things clinically, we can’t help but be drawn into that. We then return to our private practices, asking those same questions and applying that new knowledge to our own patient treatments.

“As clich├ęd as it sounds, it really feels good to ‘give back’ to the profession. One of our more enduring memories from our postgrad days was the gratitude we felt towards our honorary demonstrators, who willingly gave so generously of their time, so that we could attain the best education possible.

“Knowing that we might be helping to give the current cohort of postgrads the opportunities for a more rounded specialist education is certainly reaffirming. Our specialty is a particularly collegial one, and our role at the University allows us to further develop those relationships with like-minded members of the profession. For those reasons, our advice to anyone contemplating a role at the School is – go for it.”

Having forged successful businesses and careers in the field of orthodontics, Daniel and Andrew’s advice for today’s current dental students is simple.

“In an often commercially driven society, always remember that you are a member of a noble profession.

“You are in a privileged position, to enable people to improve their health and wellbeing. Act with humility, generosity and collegiality, and success will automatically follow.”

Are you interested in becoming an honorary staff member at the Melbourne Dental School? Find out more at mds-honoraries@unimelb.edu.au