About The Dr.
Dentist and Owner
“90 percent of my success is because of the people who are here.” Dr. McDonnell
On top of his busy schedule as a dentist and business owner, Dr. Phil McDonnell also spent 12 years teaching young dentists at Loyola University’s residency program. As Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery, Dr. McDonnell mentored many young dentists on the verge of their professional careers. His advice, sometimes heeded, sometimes ignored, was always the same. “These were young residents, in debt, and they cared about making money,” says Dr. McDonnell. “I told them to treat everybody like they’re your favorite relatives.” READ MORE
Why Choose Us?
Experienced, Professional Staff
Our office staff is friendly, professional, and efficient
It’s a state-of-the-art facility with a crack staff; put together it results in a friendly, efficient office.
“We do it right the first time.” – Dr. Phillip McDonnell. The absolute best dental care—our philosophy is really that simple.
Convenient Downtown Location
25 East Washington Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602
We have a joke here [at DePaul University], that we should bring Dr. McDonnell in two times a year to do all our cleanings. There are at least ten of us here that are patients…family, friends, significant others. I’ve never had a dentist like him before, and the staff there is amazing, too.
You go into another dentist office…it seems harried, an uncomfortable place to be. At Dr. McDonnell’s, it’s calming. All the people there are very easy going and fun, as is Dr. McDonnell. The staff is phenomenal, the office beautiful, Dr. McDonnell trustworthy. My experience there is that it’s painless, which is not something you can often say when you go to the dentist.
I have had several dentists in my lifetime and fortunately all of them have been very good. Dr Phil is the best though. The staff and facilities are top-notch and I always feel like they treat me with care and attention appropriate to my needs.
Carolyn has spent the last 20+ years working in restorative dentistry. She worked for her father, Dr. Jim Buckman, and for the last two years has worked as both a dental assistant and as a member of our front desk staff. Carolyn will be our Facebook contact, ready to respond to your questions.
Dr. McDonnell completed his own undergraduate work at Bloomington’s Indiana University in 1984, and then went on to Indianapolis’ Indiana University School of Dentistry, where he graduated in 1988. He then did an advanced hospital-based residency at Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago. It was during his residency at Michael Reese in the late 1980s that Dr. McDonnell met Dr. Steven Potashnick, who was one of his instructors. It was a lucky break. After Dr. McDonnell worked for a short time at a Lincoln Park office, Dr. Potashnick hired him in 1990.
“His mantra was attention to detail,” says Dr. McDonnell. “All he cared about was quality, that’s all he cared about.” Like all great students, Dr. McDonnell absorbed all his mentor had to offer and became his own man, or dentist, as the case may be. Dr. McDonnell took over complete control of the practice in 1997, building on those lessons learned to create an environment entirely focused on quality patient care. Dr. McDonnell’s practice thrives in large part on his reputation for honesty and integrity, as well as his sense of humor. Staff and patients alike laud not only his dental abilities but also his chairside manner and leadership as a businessman.
For the past 15 years, Dr. McDonnell has volunteered for the Illinois Foundation Dentistry for the Handicapped, an organization that helps provide treatment for mentally, physically and financially disabled patients. “These are people who cannot get dental care elsewhere,” says Dr. McDonnell. “We give them same exact care that we give everyone. We always have one active patient; we take them from start to finish. It’s a real source of pride for the entire office. It’s our way of giving back.” Over the years, Dr. McDonnell and his staff have provided nearly a quarter million dollars in free care to needy patients.
Dr. McDonnell stays current in his field in part through his participation in the Chicago Dental Forum, where he has been a member nearly two decades. The Chicago Dental Forum is a varied group of dentists that meet five times a year to present, discuss and review topics ranging from business to dentistry to medicine. Dr. McDonnell is also a member of the American Dental Association, the Illinois State Dental Society and the Chicago Dental Society.
Dr. Bisterfeldt then matriculated to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry to complete his dental training. There he engaged in variety of research projects, tutored a number of courses for dental students, instructed gross anatomy, and acquired additional clinical skills through externships at top academic institutions around the country. Graduating as his class Valedictorian, he received a number of awards and accolades. After completing his dental education, he did some post-graduate surgical training before settling in private practice.
Dr. Bisterfeldt’s patients enjoy his sense of humor and compassionate chair side manner. He is an avid participant in continuing education and has acquired a wide range of experience with all facets of dentistry. While practicing in the suburbs, he provided care to disadvantaged patients the Oak Park Children’s Clinic, and now looks forward to similar opportunities in downtown Chicago. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society, the Chicago Dental Society, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
When not practicing, Dr. Bisterfeldt enjoys playing basketball and golf and quality time spent with family and friends.
Sometimes, fiddling around her kitchen, or relaxing in the living room, Joyce hears her phone ring, picks it up and answers, “Doctor’s office.”
Call it a reflex reaction. Joyce has been with the practice nearly four decades, surely the ideal way to master the art of running the office. If Joyce didn’t come with the building, it’s close to that.
After Joyce suddenly lost her husband Bill last year, she received dozens of cards, flowers, letters and words of compassion. From her patients. “I’ve known these patients since I was 19 years old,” Joyce says. “We’ve kind of grown up together. You get to know patients’ families, their health situations, where they’re going on vacation. I consider them friends.”
Joyce, after Dr. McDonnell, is the leader in maintaining a work place environment that walks the tightrope between the highest professionalism and the easiest familiarity. She says there are no tricks—more, it’s a reflection of the practice’s philosophy and the quality of the people.
“We have compassionate people working here,” says Joyce. “We have state of the art technology, which can ease anxiety for people in the chair. Our techniques are above standard. We just kind of flow together, do our own things as well as what we can do to help each other. We take pride in what we do.”
Joyce graduated from Chicago’s Bryman Dental Assisting School in 1972 and the same year began work at the office—she started with Dr. Leaf, continued through Dr. Potashnick and has remained all through Dr. McDonnell’s tenure. She took over as Office Manager in the early 1980s and in that capacity schedules appointments, handles all financial transactions, and generally ensures that the staff meets all patient needs. Those who know Joyce best remark on her compassion and empathy, as well as her incredible memory—she juggles personal and dental information for some 4,500 patients in her head.
People sometimes leave the practice—they’ve had job transfers or started families in the suburbs—and years later they’ll return. When they come back, they often exclaim, “Oh my God! Joyce, you’re still here.”
In her 32nd year in the dental industry, the last 15 at McDonnell, Pam has seen and done it all. Yes, she performs laboratory work, such as custom and bleach trays, and takes care of in-house whitenening. True, she works behind the scenes to clean the Autoclave and cold sterilizations, and works with suppliers on the pricing and ordering of most of the office supplies. Correct, she assists the office manager in routine administrative follow-ups. But patients probably most notice when Pam props a pillow under their heads, or gets them a blanket, changes the radio dial to their favorite opera station.
“We make patients feel comfortable,” says Pam. “I try to be personable. I love what I do, and I think patients can sense that.”
Pam started working in the industry right out of high school, and over the course of her career has assisted in general dentistry, perionditstry, endontistry and pedodontistry, as well as a stint at the University of Chicago’s Dental Lab. She compares the atmosphere at McDonnell favorably to every other place at which she’s worked.
“It’s just a really great work environment—very laid back,” says Pam. “That’s why I’ve been here so long. We’re very professional, and everybody here is happy. We’re all crazy about Dr. McDonnell. You don’t see anybody coming to work all grouchy and frowned up.”
When Julia began working at McDonnell Dental in 1992, she lived in Chicago. After her husband, a state police officer, transferred to Manhattan, Julia’s three-day-a-week commute got longer. Much longer. Despite the inconvenience, Julia stayed on, and on.
“Friends couldn’t believe why I was still coming in here to work,” Julia says. “Then a friend of mine from Chicago—she didn’t even know this was the place where I worked—came in here for a cleaning and to get a couple fillings. She said, ‘Now I know why you travel so far. This is an incredible office.’ ”
Julia began as an assistant while attending hygiene school at Prairie State in Chicago Heights, IL. Her 14 years oral surgery experience, along with her education, makes her, like all the staff, extremely qualified to do her job.
“I’ve worked with the practice a long time in all aspects,” she says, “What makes this office work is the knowledgeable staff.”