Learn More About Our Practice

I’m Dr. McKernan, and I’d like to personally invite you to explore what makes our practice unique and special.

About Us

Here, we don’t treat patients like numbers, but family! You’ll always be greeted with a smile, and our warm and friendly team will help you feel right at home at every single appointment. From scheduling to helping you settle into the chair to discussing your payment options, our goal is to make taking care of your teeth as easy as possible, and we’ll provide a level of service and attention you just won’t find anywhere else near you.

Big Gay Smiles Dental is an LGBTQ2IA+ owned practice that prioritizes comfort, quality, and community. We understand the stressors related to going to the dentist and actively work to redefine what it means to provide queer- (and ally-) focused dental care. Big Gay Smiles Dental invests in the patient experience by maintaining the latest in dental technology, which can reduce the number of dental visits needed for crowns or veneers. From laser dentistry to our in-office CEREC machine, Big Gay Smiles Dental is redefining the dental experience.

In addition to investing in the patient experience and our modern facilities, Big Gay Smiles Dental invests in our community. Every year, we donate 10% of yearly revenue to local and national HIV/AIDS non-profits that provide life-saving medicine and ancillary services to our most vulnerable LGBTQ2IA+ brothers and sisters. Big Gay Smiles Dental is committed to investing in our patients and community. Come by and see why so many Big Gay Smiles Dental patients smile with PRIDE™!

Meet the doctor

Dr. Robert McKernan

Founder and Lead Dentist

Dr. McKernan was born in Phoenix, Arizona. Raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormon church, he served a two year mission in the Dominican Republic. He later graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Spanish Comparative Literature. Dr. McKernan went on to earn his Doctorate in Dental Surgery from Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College where he graduated with honors in community service and special needs dentistry. His resume includes years of service in both public health and cosmetic private practice. He is the proud founder of Big Gay Smiles Dental and has a passion to serve his community along with his husband. As a former Mormon he is an advocate against conversion therapy for queer youth. When not working, he enjoys competing in IronMan competitions and swimming with his local masters swim team.

Meet the team

Tyler Dougherty

Tyler Dougherty was born and raised in Northwest Oklahoma in a multicultural and inter-generational household. He serves as the Interim Vice President of Programs and Operations at the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH), where he passionately serves American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban areas. Tyler’s education is rooted in life sciences and statistics, obtaining his Bachelor of Science from the University of Oklahoma (OU) and his Master of Public Health in Biostatistics from OU Health Sciences Center. Tyler is an avid gardener and enjoys running outside in Washington, DC.

Tyler and his husband, Dr. Rob McKernan, own and operate Big Gay Smiles Dental, where they work to provide a queer-celebrating and gender-affirming space for DC’s LGBTQ2IA+ community to receive dental health services. Serving the LGBTQ2IA+ community is a passion of Tyler’s, and he is excited to see Big Gay Smiles Dental grow!

Gabriella Kahan
Marketing and Social Media

Gabriella is a Central New Jersey native. She was raised in a multi-cultural and creatively driven household. She wears many hats in her day to day. She received her Masters in Dance Education from Rutgers University and teaches academia through creative movement in a New York City elementary school. When she is not teaching dance, she is oftentimes teaching yoga to her community, helping to spread mindfulness and inner-peace through meditation and movement. Her active day doesn't end when she gets home, because she has a son, named Graham, keeping her on her toes!

At Big Gay Smiles Dental she gets to use her creative interests with marketing and social media approaches. She is full of pride being a part of the Big Gay Smiles Dental family and is loving the challenge of bringing more awareness to the public about how valuable and special Big Gay Smiles Dental is.

Breann Holmes
Dental Assistant

Breann Holmes works alongside Dr. Rob at Big Gay Smiles Dental. She enjoys spending time with friends, scrapbooking, continuing her education and experiencing life milestone with her toddler every day.

"I enjoy the smiles on patient's faces when they are out of pain, and I love their beautiful smiles" - A quote that can be physically seen when she is assisting patients in the office. Her favorite DC restaurant is McCormicks & Schmick's.

Shannon Wright
‍‍Dental Hygienist

Shannon is a Maryland native who discovered Big Gay Smiles through an ex-Mormon TikTok. She was a Certified Dental Assistant through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) for 12 years before transitioning to dental hygiene school. She graduated in December 2023. When she’s not working, Shannon enjoys yoga, hiking and biking. As an ex-Mormon and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she has never felt more seen and comfortable than she does working at Big Gay Smiles. Shannon loves being a part of this inclusive and supportive workplace.

Video Testimonials

Our patients say

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