Dr. Thomas McCue IV, 39: McCue Dental

 

You typically go to the dentist to improve your smile, but Dr. Thomas McCue IV also makes you smile.

With his infectious laugh, Dr. McCue, 39, who owns a north country dental practice, believes it’s important to make his clients as comfortable as possible, even to make their visits so at ease that they actually have fun, he said.

“I just want to help people,” he said.

That’s why he decided to become a dentist, a job he loves because he changes people’s lives.

Since his practice opened five years ago, McCue Dental has grown from one to four offices and now has 50 employees.

First opening an office in the town of Philadelphia, the practice has grown at a steady rate, with offices in Watertown and Pulaski before adding the Brewerton office this past July.

Even at an early age, Dr. McCue knew he wanted to be a dentist. Growing up in Parish, his father’s doctor friends inspired him — by the time he was 6 — that he should work hard and pursue a medical career.

“They told me I was going to be a dentist and that’s what happened,” he said.

Every day, he knows that he’ll make a difference in someone’s life. It may be giving a patient a better smile. Relieving someone from pain is a privilege, he said, or allowing a patient to enjoy food once again after receiving much-needed treatment.

“You have to have an inherent love of what you’re doing,” he said. “You have to love your job.”

He particularly enjoys helping young patients.

“It’s the kids,” he said. “It’s seeing their smiles.”

It’s not a typical dental practice. First of all, his patients call him Dr. Tom. And he describes himself as a big jolly guy.

Everyone coming into the office for treatment is greeted by his two dogs — friendly labradoodles that go into the office with him every day. There’s nothing like seeing a child rubbing their bellies or just rolling around on the floor with one of them, he said. It makes the kids feel at ease, even when they may be facing some difficult dental work.

Calling them family, he credits much of his success to his staff. They are happy because he makes sure they know they are valued and he knows that he can rely on them, Dr. McCue said.

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” he said.

The staff helps him with a program that teaches dental hygiene to kindergartners through sixth-graders at local schools. It’s part of his commitment of giving back to the community, Dr. McCue said.

It’s not the first time that Dr. McCue has been recognized for his success at an early age. Last year, he was named by Incisal Edge, a national dental industry field magazine, to its 40 Under 40 list of up-and-coming dentists across the country. It was a crowning moment, he said.

Before that, Dr. McCue showed his leadership skills in his first year at dental school at the University of Buffalo. He was elected as the president of the dental association for all four years, an accomplishment that has helped him immensely with his practice.

“It was wonderful experience,” he said.

His parents taught him to work hard and make sure he did something with his life that he loved, Dr. McCue said. They also taught him important values to live by: Be polite, say yes, please and thank you.

“Respect means so much,” he said.

They also taught him to be himself.

“I feel comfortable in my own skin,” Dr. McCue said.

Some of his best childhood memories come from the days of his family’s summer home in T.I. Park on Wellesley Island. He got his love for this part of the state from those days, he said. He lives in Parish in a fifth-generation sprawling home that dates back to pre-Civil War.

The north country has played such an important role in Dr. McCue’s personal life and career. He would like to see more young people who have gone off to college return and start a career here.

Maybe an organization can be established that can devote all of its efforts on recruiting young professionals back home, he suggested.

“I love it here,” he said.

—Craig Fox

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The Dr. Thomas McCue IV File

Hometown: Parish

Professional position: Dentist and owner, McCue Dental

Family: Single; dogs, Maxwell and Oliver

EDUCATION: Doctor of Dental Surgery, Buffalo University School of Dentistry, bachelor’s in biology, Hamilton College; bachelor’s in chemistry, Syracuse University; master’s in education, Oswego University

Community involvement: Host, holiday fathering at his home to raise money for charitable organizations, including the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, the Second Annual Oswego County Olympiad and Golosano Children’s Hospital

Last book read: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling