Author Archives: rich.dodds

New MD and Commercial Director for the UK’s No1 Orthodontic Laboratory

Ashford Orthodontics is celebrating its 20th year of continuous growth since its inception in 2001, bouncing back from the pandemic even stronger than it already was previously, and currently in the process of doubling in size by extending into the building next door. Ashford puts this success down to strong strategic planning, robust structure, and clear foresight for the future, as well as a totally committed and loyal workforce and management team.

‘’We continually assess previous performance and rigidly scrutinise the structure and mechanism to continue future growth. The unprecedented growth over the last two decades has been because of this and has allowed us to develop and grow a strong managerial structure within the company’’ said Sean Thompson, current Managing Director, and founder of the company.

With this structure firmly established and already showing its value to the company, Ashford feels there has never been a better time to hand over the baton to current Operations Director Craig Stevens, who will assume the role of Managing Director with immediate effect whilst Sean steps aside to enjoy his well-deserved retirement from the end of June. Craig will continue to grow and develop the structure already established over the last 3 years and will oversee the occupation into the new 24,000 sq ft extension next door.

Sean added ‘’Craig has been instrumental in Ashford’s growth and thoroughly deserves the opportunity to take the company even further in the coming years. Ashford has some really exciting up-coming projects and as Craig and I have always been side by side on everything to date, I have no doubt at all that Ashford will continue to go from strength to strength in the future.’’

Craig has been with Ashford as Operations Director since joining in 2006 along with Technical Director Graeme Winyard and the three life-long friends have been instrumental in the extra-ordinary growth of the company over the last 20 years.

Craig added ‘’Sean had the foresight all of those years ago to realise that investment in Digital Technology was the way forward. Along with this significant investment we all worked hard to establish ourselves as the ‘go to’ orthodontic laboratory for every clinician offering orthodontic treatments in the UK and this has provided the foundation for our monumental growth. Personally, I will always be immensely grateful to Sean for giving me the opportunity to flourish within Ashford in the early days, and now equally grateful for the opportunity to take this fantastic company to the next level once again and continue the great work Sean started all of those years ago.’’

The top team also welcomes the addition of current Business Development Manager Rich Dodds stepping up to the new role of Commercial Director. Rich first Joined Ashford as a graduate intern 9 years ago, and after spending 5 years honing his skills at Nike, he returned to the Ashford family to help with its growth strategy. ‘’Many congratulations to Rich and thoroughly well deserved. Rich is  extremely competent and more than capable of operating at this level and fully deserves this recognition for all of his hard work and dedication. More importantly for Ashford though is that he’s such a great lad with great values and I’m certain he’ll continue to drive Ashford in the right direction going forward.’’ said Sean.

Rich added ‘’I’m delighted to be taking up this new role within Ashford. I’ve been working really closely with Sean since re-joining from Nike, and the relationships I’ve forged in this time are invaluable to the company. I’m really looking forward to continuing the great work Sean has put into the company over the last 20 years and I’ve learned so much from his almost 40 years in the profession during this time.’’

Ashford is currently recruiting for more staff to join its 70 plus workforce at its Sunderland headquarters in Southwick, whilst also promoting several current members of the team to supervisory and managerial positions.

Sean has worked in the profession for almost 40 years and has developed a wealth of experience, expertise and connections which is second to none and this has firmly established him as one of the industries most trusted professionals. He has also developed a wide range of interests outside of the profession and is looking forward to spending time following his passions outside of the Lab.

Ashford became a founder member of the growing ALS group in 2020 and their passion and desire to support Craig and the Ashford team going forward will no doubt result in even greater success for the company in coming years.

Lockdown – We Remain Open

We remain open.

As during the last period of national restrictions, dental services are to remain open and therefore, our lab will continue to support you and your patients.

We will continue to work under strict safety conditions, with spaced work stations, perspex screens, PPE and a one-way system. 

Ashford Re-Open June 8th

Our team is excited to get back to work and is looking forward to servicing your laboratory needs. But first, between our desire to keep everyone healthy and to stay in compliance with government guidance, we must adopt a few changes in how we work.

Please understand that we need to:

  • Implement new safe ways of allowing impressions into the lab
  • Space out our workstations in order to social distance.
  • To allow for these changes we require an extra 24 hours on all production in the lab.

Please be patient with us, as we are working as quickly as we can to accommodate your needs, all while keeping everyone’s health and safety our top priority. We now ask that your debond to retainer fit appointments are 1 week apart but our 30 day replacement retainer guarantee still applies.

If you have any queries please email or call us on 0191 565 2788 . We are open 10 am until 2 pm Monday to Friday.


We are delighted to announce that our Digital Team are now able to safely provide a replacement retainer service for patients in need.

We will provide two levels of service using patient scans
(We are not accepting any alginate impressions at this stage)

1. Standard Essix retainers from digital STL files

2. Premium Zendura Essix retainers from digital STL files

Both services are sent via a trackable ‘next day’ delivery courier to either the practice or any address of your choice, with the courier charge being included in the Premium Service.

Please visit for my information

Stay At Home, Save Lives

We love these positive messages from our brilliant team! Stay home, save lives during these unprecedented times

We continue to stay closed to ensure the protection of our valued members of staff and their families. Once the lab is in a position to re-open we will communicate this straight away. Stay safe everyone.

Please follow the guidelines provided by the BOS

BOS Guidelines

COVID-19 Notice – Temporary Closure



To our valued and loyal clients,

Ashford Orthodontics are committed to providing the very best service to its clients, but in these unprecedented times, we must turn our attention to the safety of our staff and their families. With this in mind, and with an extremely heavy heart, we have decided to begin a phased and temporary shut down of the lab. Our last appliances will leave the lab on Tuesday 24th March and we won’t be accepting any work into the lab after that date as we will be closed, with no staff in attendance.
Given the latest advice from governing bodies, and in the interest of safety for all, we think we’ll all be affected in the same way very soon. We truly value all our loyal clients, but there comes a time when safety and humankind come first, and we sadly feel this is that time. We will of course promptly resume ALL services as soon as we are told it is safe to do so, and we have stocked accordingly to hit the ground running when the wheels start turning again soon. Thank you so much for your kind understanding and please keep your staff and loved once safe during these horrendous and challenging times.

Kind Regards

Sean, Craig and Graeme and everybody at Team Ashford