Irish dental chain Smiles Dental has been bought by UK firm Oasis Healthcare for a reported €36m.

Smiles was founded by UCD graduate Emmet O'Neill in 2005 and it now has 77 practices across Ireland and the UK.

Oasis said the deal will cement its position as the UK's largest provider of private dental care services and a major provider to the NHS. It will also increase its turnover from £160m to over £201m.

It said the transaction comes at a time when the dental sector is expected to experience further growth over the next five years.  

Smiles CEO Emmet O'Neill said that the company had been looking for a partner to help it "reach the next level" and had examined a number of options.

He said that when he meet the Oasis management, he realised there was a shared approach and a "matched ambition" at the company.