Genuinely proud to be part of the team

Chris Aylward explains what sets Riverdale Healthcare apart from other dental groups.

Every group will say they are different to the rest: that they aren’t a typical corporate, that they offer clinical freedom, that they are nicer people to work for. 

And why wouldn’t they? I say exactly the same thing! Each group is focused on growth. To do that, they need to convince you that they are the best option for you.  

So, let’s break this down and talk about Riverdale Healthcare. 

We are not a corporate

The word corporate has a bad press in the dental industry. It’s a negative term that implies a focus on process, protocol and standardisation. Rather than the people and what they can do for the business. For many companies this is inevitable. Once growth becomes significant, having more uniform, aligned groups of practices is much easier to manage. 

At Riverdale Healthcare, we are very clear that we are a group of individual dental practices. Each practice is different, much like extended families; each have their own successes and challenges, each with its own character. 

Our support team recognise the importance of our colleagues in practice, the dedicated professionals who are making it possible for the people in our communities to live life with confident, healthy smiles. The support team focus on how they can make life easier in the practice so the teams can focus on delivering exceptional patient care by tailoring systems to meet the needs of the practice.

We offer clinical freedom

We seek to provide high quality, ethical dental care. Key to this is providing choice to both our patients and clinicians. We believe clinical freedom is not only enabling personal laboratory and material choice but through communication. 

Working together as multi-disciplinary teams, supporting each other, developing skills, mentoring colleagues, cultivating an environment which encourages personal and professional growth. 

Clinical freedom at Riverdale Healthcare is core to our purpose of fostering a happy, ‘can-do’ team that goes above and beyond for each other and our patients.  

We are nice people

I am genuinely proud to be part of Riverdale Healthcare. Everyone who is part of the team has the same passion and commitment for becoming the best independent group we can be. Always with the best interests of our colleagues and patients at the heart of everything we do. 

We work together, in collaboration, to find better ways of doing things. 

Dentistry is a fulfilling and valuable career. It plays a crucial role in a healthy community. 

We understand that without a happy team, we will lose people, waste talent, and underperform. Without gaining our team’s trust, acting responsibly, ethically and caring for our people, we will fail in our mission to serve our patients.

Our teams have fun delivering outstanding care to the people in our community. We want them to enjoy their work and the relationships they build every day. We want them to fulfil their personal aspirations, be developed, rewarded and achieve a genuine work-life balance. 

They’re proud to work in a team that goes above and beyond for each other and our patients, that is respected in the community because of the contribution it makes, and the responsibility it takes to protect the environment and care for its people. 

The decision to sell your practice is probably one of the biggest steps that you will take. Certainly in your professional life. 

You should take it over a period of time once you have gathered all of the information that you need to make that decision. Your head and your heart must agree and then you can feel confident to progress. 

At Riverdale Healthcare, we fully understand this huge step that you are taking. We have the knowledge, expertise and experience gained over many years to help and support you through this. So that the end result is great for both of us.


Image and article as featured in Dentistry Magazine


Update 26th March 2020

The safety of our patients and our teams is of paramount importance to us.
In the interests of all, we are following the advice from the Chief Dental Officer and stopping any face to face consultations or treatment. This means that any appointments already booked in the next three weeks are cancelled and we will contact you to re-arrange.

Although we have had to close our doors, Riverdale Healthcare will continue to give telephone advice when you need us. Please just telephone your practice in the normal way for details of this service.

Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

Coronavirus Impact update



PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19. If you do you will be asked to leave immediately.

Further to the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday evening, the definition of a dental emergency will need to be much more restrictive. It would be unsafe to provide certain treatments unless we are given access to the appropriate equipment.

Postponing routine appointments
All routine appointments have been suspended in keeping with the current policy from our Professional Body (the BDA) and to respect social distancing in line with Government Policy.  This is for the safety of both our patients and our colleagues.

If you have a routine appointment booked you can expect to hear from us again shortly to postpone your appointment to a later date.

Please don’t worry, you will not miss out on any dental care that you need in the longer term.

Once we are able to get back to our normal operation we will be extending our opening hours to catch-up on postponed appointments although your treatment needs may require reassessment with a new examination, depending on the delay in resuming limited or normal services.

Please do contact the practice by phone if:
1. You require emergency treatment
2. You need advice or reassurance
3. You need a treatment completing such as a crown or denture fit – your original appointment will be cancelled – there may be circumstances where this treatment is provided IF we consider it would prevent a problem or the denture is essential for function.
4. Separate arrangements are being made on a case by case basis for Orthodontic patients and you will be contacted directly by the practice.

In hours emergencies
Please rest assured that whilst we are operating on reduced staffing levels, we are still available to provide emergency dental care. If you experience a problem, please call the practice and we will aim to see you for treatment on the same day if appropriate.
The treatment we are able to provide is governed by regulatory guidance and may be more limited than usual.

Out of hours emergencies
If you have a dental emergency and are unable to wait until our practice is open, please call NHS 111. This service is overstretched so please do so on an extreme emergency basis only.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please remember to check our website and social media pages for further updates.

Do stay safe and my very best wishes to you and your family in these difficult times.

Ian A Gordon BDS MFGDP
Managing Director Alpha Vitality Group
Riverdale Healthcare

Important Information

Dear Patient

Covid 19 is affecting all our lives in a way we could not have contemplated even 2 weeks ago. I have delayed writing to you in relation to any change in arrangements at the Practice simply because things are changing daily and at times hourly.

As of today, Sunday 22 March ALL practices in the Riverdale Healthcare Group, including Alpha and  Vitality practices, Archway, Eston, Framwellgate, Pelaw and Hebburn are moving to see patients for Emergency treatment only.

PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE IF YOU HAD OR HAVE SYMPTOMS OF COVID 19. If you do, you will be asked to leave immediately

NHS Commissioners, our regulator and the Chief Dental Officer still only advise a reduction in the number of patients we see and to not provide certain treatments. However our Professional body, the British Dental Association (BDA) backs the position we are adopting.

​I hope you can understand our decision as we support social distancing for our teams and our patients.

All appointments are now cancelled until further notice.

Please contact the practice if:-
1) You require emergency treatment
2) You need advice or reassurance
3) You need a treatment completing that is vital for function, such as a denture fit – your original appointment will be cancelled but we will try to accommodate completing your treatment by arrangement.
4) Separate arrangements are being made on a case by case basis for Orthodontic and Implant patients and you will be contacted directly by the practice.

Our senior dental team will be available to give telephone advice if your query cannot be managed by our reception team – you will be called back as soon as possible.


We are working to keep our team together and will do all we can continue your treatment when this situation is over.

In the meantime please follow Government advice on social distancing.

Do stay safe and my very best wishes to you and your family in these difficult times

Ian A Gordon BDS MFGDP
Managing Director Alpha Vitality Group
Riverdale Healthcare

COVID-19 and your dental care.

To Our Patients and Their Families,

Riverdale Healthcare including Alpha Vitality Dental Group have our patients well being and their Health and Safety as a number one priority.
Often in times of uncertainty, there can be a wealth of misinformation spread, especially in today’s digital age. As a leading healthcare authority in our community, we wanted to reach out to all of our patients regarding the COVID-19 virus, and to let you know the steps we are taking to alleviate any potential concerns.

According to the latest reports from the Department of Health and other national healthcare providers, the current health risks are minimal for most age groups. We recommend all of our patients to wash their hands frequently, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you aren’t feeling well.

If you have a fever or NEW persistent cough you SHOULD NOT attend the Practice.

We follow strict cleaning policies for the protection of both our staff and our patients.

Each staff member maintains rigorous personal hygiene standards and cross infection measures for every patient interaction.
We use hospital-grade disinfectants across the entire practice, with extensive room cleaning after each patient to ensure a safe and clean environment.

After each use, all dental instruments receive the highest level of medical sterilisation available. These processes have always been of utmost importance in our practice and will continue to be the standards we uphold for our patients.

Please rest assured that we are following local and national updates daily, and will continue to maintain the highest level of safety and patient care that you have come to expect. If you have any questions regarding your future appointments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be posting additional updates through Facebook @Alpha.Smiles) to keep our community and patients abreast of the latest updates regarding the current health situation.

Again, thank you for being a valued patient, we appreciate your continued trust and confidence. Together we can overcome these challenging circumstances and we look forward to taking care of you at your next scheduled appointment.


Dr Ian A Gordon BDS, MFGDP

Managing Director
Alpha Vitality Dental Group
Riverdale Healthcare

Cyber Security is Top Priority for Dental Group

Riverdale Healthcare has instructed IASME to support the delivery of the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme in their group of dental practices.

The Cyber Essentials Scheme aims to help organisations implement basic levels of protection against cyber attack, demonstrating to their customers that they take cyber security seriously and which focuses on the five most important technical security controls. These controls were identified by the Government as those that, if they had been in place, would have stopped the majority of the successful cyber attacks over the last few years.

The five basic controls within Cyber Essentials were chosen because, when properly implemented, they will help to protect against unskilled internet-based attackers using commodity capabilities – which are freely available on the internet.

Ben Wild, Operations Director said, “IASME have been incredibly supportive in helping us to achieve our Cyber Essentials verification. We want to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect our teams and our patients against malicious attacks.”

Organisations that undertake Cyber Essentials are encouraged to recertify at least once a year and, where appropriate, progress their security.