Last week we started a new Sunday series here on MBIP that's going to spotlight our Bucket List supporters called, “Behind The Bucket List,” and we featured Moxie’s ReSale Boutique. Today we’re going to feature one of my favorite places in Peoria, All Smiles Dental Care. Normally you don’t equate fun with dentistry, but Dr. Nguyen (pronounced like, “Win,” but you can just call her Doc) and her fun and lively staff have magically transformed going to the dentist into a fun experience.
I first wandered into ASDC after finding out they made custom-made novelty teeth when I made a visit to The Costume Trunk. I got the teeth made and they’re so cool and lots of fun to just wear around town and see people’s reactions! I’ve now become a patient and as someone who used to dread going to the dentist, I can testify that Doc and her staff are revolutionizing dentistry by emphasizing personal care and a great fun atmosphere from the moment you walk in the door. I asked Doc some questions about ASDC and they’re featured below along with a photo tour of all things ASDC.
MBIP: When did ASDC open up?
Doc: Our first official patient was seen on December 28, 2012. However being so close to the holidays, we didn't really get into the swing of things until after the first of the year.
Do you remember your first patient?
Yes. it was an older man with a toothache. So we pulled a tooth the first day!
What did it feel like on your first day that you were open to the public?
It was both exciting and a little scary. So much went into opening this practice that when the day finally came it seemed almost surreal.
What are your future goals for ASDC?
We are just now approaching the end of our second year. So the short-term goal is to continue to build up the practice, develop a strong patient base and most of all try make dentistry less fearful for patients. We pride ourselves on transparency, honesty, and taking the time to educate patients and get them more actively involved in their oral health decisions. Hopefully in doing so we're raising the bar.
Lots of people get nervous about going to see a dentist. How do you soothe those jangled nerves?
Each patient is different, so we try to be adaptable. First and foremost we try to be lighthearted and welcoming. I think of the office as friends helping friends, more than a doctor treating a patient. We will make you laugh, or hold your hand. I got the nickname of "the singing dentist" because I found if I sang to my patients during procedures it set their minds at ease. I even had one patient getting full mouth extractions and it just made her feel better to talk to me during the whole procedure. As you can imagine, this made surgery very difficult, but I let her talk and we got through it.
Your staff really seems loyal and really into the business, truthfully now, have you drugged them and/or hypnotized them?
I've drugged most them with Lidocaine before, ha ha, but they are here willingly. And they let me use them as guinea pigs for new products and procedures!
Does ASDC have a motto or catchphrase?
Our business cards say "you deserve to enjoy your dental experience." Which is absolutely true. But we don't necessarily consider that our motto or our slogan. It's something I would like to develop, but don't want to force it. But we're open to suggestions!
Halloween is coming up and I love your novelty teeth that you make. I've treasured the set I have and have had so much fun with them. How quickly can you turn a set of teeth around for a customer?
I guess it depends on how intricate the design is. Most requests can be done in a day or two depending on demand. Something like what you have with a lot of characterization takes a little bit of time.
How long do they usually last?
They should last for a long time, as long as they're not too terribly abused.
Can you drink with them in your mouth or will it wreck them?
The materials we use for the novelty teeth are some of the same materials we use when making actual denture and partial products, so it's all safe to use. But we still probably wouldn't recommend trying to eat anything with them in.
Can people trick or treat your store on Halloween?
Absolutely! Our office hours on Friday will be from 8:30-4 on Halloween. The whole staff is dressing up and we'll have lots of candy! We invite everyone to come out and see us. It should be a really fun day!
Outside of the novelty teeth you make, you’re probably the only dental office with a drive-thru denture window. How did that come to be and have people actually used it?
We used to be a lot of things. A Kenny Roger's Roasters, Boston Market, Bellacinos, a Mexican place called Vallerta's... the drive thru was a remnant from one of those, but we really like the thought of legitimately using it. Maybe we should start selling ice cream with our dentures?
Outside of general dentistry and novelty teeth, what services do you offer at ASDC?
One of the main things that sets us apart from other dental offices is having a full laboratory on-site with Shaun, our full-time lab technician. So in addition to fun things like the novelty teeth, we make all of our dentures and partials in house. Cutting out the middle man of an outside lab gives us better quality control and a faster turn-around time for our patients. People tend to think of dentures as only for the older crowd, but it comes in handy for emergencies, like sporting accidents or when you get drunk and accidentally knock your front tooth out. Because we have the lab, we can usually get you fixed up the same day.
Have you had any crazy patients and/or funny stories since you’ve opened your doors?
There have definitely been a few. Some people like to share lots of private information. Like a lady who was preparing to get all of her teeth pulled and wanted clarification as to if giving her husband oral sex counting as "sucking" (because you're not supposed to use straws after an extraction). Apparently he was going to be mad. You're also not supposed to smoke after extractions, and I always giggle when patients ask if smoking weed counts as smoking. We've had people drop their pants to show us scars, swallow crowns and crap into a strainer to retrieve them (and bring it in and ask if we can put in back in) and a fair share of drunk patients. You never know what the day is going to bring!
What if I don’t have insurance, what happens then?
That's no problem. More than half of our patients don't have dental insurance. One way we try to get those patients access to care is to offer $19 New Patient Exams and X-Rays for those without insurance.
You’ve had to have your nose fairly close to my mouth in my visits here. Describe my breath in six words or less.
Budweiser and pizza.
What are your hours of business?
It varies during the week because we try to offer a range of hours that can compliment all kinds of work schedules. Mondays we are open from 9-7, Tuesday from 10-7, Wed and Thurs from 9-6 and Fridays we are open 8:30-4.
I’ve lost track, what’s the score of the ASDC - MBIP dueling business card challenge?
It's certainly a close race ... but we're arming ourselves with pins. In the realm of the bulletin boards around town, you're going down!
Okay, how about some parting words about ASDC.
Hmm.... I'm really proud of what we've built here and I am looking forward to the future. I would say that if there are people out there who are truly terrified of the dentist, or have had bad past experiences, to give us a chance. Hopefully you can see we are a lot of fun but we still take the work we do very seriously. It's important to take good care of your teeth, we just try and have a good time while doing it!
P.S. Amber was wearing her birthday scarf that I got at last week’s Behind The Bucket LIst business, Moxie’s ReSale Boutique. This inspired me to get something from this week’s business to take to next week’s. So what did I get from ASDC? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned for next week’s Behind the Bucket List episode! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
All Smiles Dental Care
3510 N. University Street • Suite A
Jaws Art By Jaws The Cabbie
Jaws the Cabbie sent in the is jaws art for this post. How fitting! Fangs, Jaws!