A dentist visit to look forward to
If Albion Dental Center patients look forward to getting their teeth cleaned like they look forward to watching Reese Whitherspoon flip her hair in "Legally Blond," perhaps it’s because they’re actually anticipating watching the film during their appointment.
Ceiling screenings above dental chairs is one of the many features Dr. Ben Russell installed to make his office one of the most comfortable dental offices he could imagine. His hope is to turn the stomach-flipping reaction patients typically have to a dental visit on its head, so that patients might actually look forward to the experience, or at least not dread it so much. Albion Dental’s office manager Gretchen Gall-Argyle calls it the "non-clinical approach."
Since Albion dental opened in August in Jeremy Ranch, Gall-Argyle says patients come from as far as Coalville and Salt Lake to make appointments. Patients young and old choose "Finding Nemo" or "Charade" during appointments it helps distract them, and keep them relaxed, according to Russell. If 100 percent of kids choose to watch a film, 90 percent of adults do, he said. As an added bonus, Russell offers patients neck pillows. The headset is wireless and hangs below a patient’s chin so as not to disturb Russell as he works.
"Really it’s about giving the patient a good experience," he explained. "A lot of people have bad experiences when they’re younger at the dentist’s office, and I’m just hoping that we’ve created an environment here that doesn’t instantly bring those memories back."
Warm wooden cabinets and sage green walls contribute a cozy atmosphere to the dental stations one Russell says was designed by his wife. The entrance is red, with a large painting of Yellowstone Lake. Outside the office, a patio with views of the mountains serves as an extra waiting room. But one of the most comforting aspects of Albion Dental’s office is that the typical dental-sanitization scents are virtually non-existent. He keeps the pungent chemical smells at bay by using a new cleansing machine that uses distilled water rather than the typical chemicals used in many dentists’ offices. Minimizing that fear-triggering aroma, he says, is a priority.
"We often light candles and such to maintain our smell," he says. "Dry sockets after teeth are pulled is what you’re smelling most of the time. There are certain cleaning supplies we steer away from, and use newer odorless alternatives that are just as effective."
Sound was also a concern.
"We actually use electric drills or hand pieces to change the sound, as just one more thing we do to make patients feel relaxed here," Russell explained. Other features in the office also stick to the latest technology on the dental office market. Russell uses a Laser to detect much smaller cavities before they are visible at a tooth’s surface and to prevent false cavity detection, a state-of-the-art X-ray machine that takes an image of a patient’s entire head, rather than just the jaw, and each chair has its own computer screen to upload patient information and access information. Russell is originally from Utah, and attended the University of Utah for his undergraduate degree, then studied dentistry at The University of Louisville in Kentucky. He came back to work at a hospital in Salt Lake in 2004, and gradually began to develop a plan for an independent practice in Park City. "To be honest, the big thing I like [about dentistry] is that it’s not about staring at a computer screen all day," he explained. "The main reason I like it is because I’m able to interact with a number of people throughout the day."
Albion Dental treats emergency patients, as well as patients that need everything from a full range of cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening, to necessary crowns, bridges and root canals, and oral surgery and implants. Russell accepts most insurance coverage plans and is also fluent in Spanish, so he can provide services to the area’s growing Latino community. The soft-lit, welcoming feel of the non-clinical office in Jeremy Ranch appears to meet Russell’s dream of creating a dentist office patients would want to come to, but it is also a space he enjoys working in. "I guess it helps me to do my job, because any patient that’s more at ease is easier to treat," he said. "Even I dread going to the dentist But I really enjoy working here." The Albion Dental Center is located near the Jeremy Ranch Store at the Jeremy Ranch exit off Interstate 80 at 2700 Homestead Rd. Ste #130. For more information, log onto http://www.albiondentalcenter.com or call 435-940-9900.
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$1 million in CARES Act funding has been set aside for Summit County nonprofits, and the Park City Community Foundation is working to organize the fund and how to choose recipients. The goal is to start accepting applications Oct. 14.