Meet Dr. Phil McDonnell

Dentist and Owner


Dr. Phil McDonnell

“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.”


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.