Ioana Pavelean is a successful dentist who has gained her reputation over the years. Originally from Romania, she has attracted patients to her surgery with her kind and warm attitude and special care for all her patients. Her advice for a successful life is to be an optimist, a persevering person and…a traveler.

Dr Ioana Pavelean has won numerous diplomas and distinctions over the years. Photo: Tatiana Scutari

Fell in love and stayed in Ireland

She moved to Ireland over 14 years ago with the intention of visiting her sister, but she fell in love with her present husband in her first week here. The short-term visit grew into a year. She had a surgery back in Romania, but decided to close it and remain in Ireland. At first she worked in a nursing home looking after patients with Alzheimer’s, but after only a year she got a job in the profession that she likes so much. She worked as an assistant to one of Ireland’s top dental surgeons. It took her three years before she was able to work all by herself as a dentist, even though she had practiced surgery while being an assistant.

Dr Ioana with one of her assistants. Photo: Tatiana Scutari

‘This is what I love doing and I never planned to quit. It’s not about the money, but so that patients are happy. Often I did not charge as much as I ought to. I also did free dentures. After I got my registration, I worked for about 8 years in another practice. I opened my own three years ago.’ Dr. Ioana is an optimist, always sees the glass as half full. ‘I have met qualified people who gave up. It may seem hard, but it’s not. There aren’t huge differences and it’s applicable to all professions. Fear discourages many people. I am an optimist and thought to myself, if it works, it works. If not, that’s it.’

Romania will always have a special place in her heart

At the moment, there are four dentists, one orthodontist and one surgical specialist working in the clinic based in Phibsborough Road in Dublin. One of the assistants is a young Irish woman called Melissa.

‘She always surprises me, because she’s learned so many Romanian words. She understands my conversations with the clients and jumps in when I need help. She speaks Romanian with those people who don’t understand a word of English. Melissa knows the days of the week and can make appointments.’

But there have also been moments Dr. Ioana felt hurt because of her nationality. ‘I had a patient with a metal crown. She asked me to take it off, because, she said ‘I look like a Romanian’. ‘I did not say a word, but it was unpleasant for me. Is there something wrong with us being from Romania?’ Another time, a patient asked her if there are radiators in Romania. ‘It’s a genuinely beautiful country, I don’t know what other people think of it’, she says.

‘I don’t make a fortune, I invest in future’. Photo: Tatiana Scutari

‘Travel and invest in yourself’

Along with her husband Sorin, with whom she works at the clinic, Dr. Ioana wants to return to Romania for their retirement. For now, they’re traveling around the world. They’ve been in 38 countries so far.

‘We have decided not to make a fortune, but to travel. We have a map on the wall and add a pin for every country we visit. We’re going to fill that map completely. We had a house in Romania, then sold it. Traveling is important to us to broaden our outlook. Every country is different. You see poor places and you realize how wealthy you are in comparison with others. Indonesia for example, is very beautiful, but a lot of people there are poor. Every six weeks, we try to go somewhere. In November we’ll visit Dubai and Thailand.’

Dr. Ioana’s advice for a successful life? ‘Be an optimist, a persevering person and a traveler. Invest in yourself, not in material stuff. We take nothing with us when we leave this world.’