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Smile Shop tries to cast dental hygiene in a good light
by Jessica Garcia
Oct 02, 2008 | 972 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Debra Reid - Dylan D'Arcy, 10, seemed relaxed as he received a filling from Dr. Nicole Stoker at the Smile Shop in south Reno. The practice, which works to create an environment that is comfortable for children, is building a new office in Spanish Springs at Pyramid Highway and Eagle Canyon Road.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Dylan D'Arcy, 10, seemed relaxed as he received a filling from Dr. Nicole Stoker at the Smile Shop in south Reno. The practice, which works to create an environment that is comfortable for children, is building a new office in Spanish Springs at Pyramid Highway and Eagle Canyon Road.
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Dr. Michael Stoker has found the strategy to alleviate children's fears about going to the dentist: eliminate confining walls, expand window views, allow lots of light into the office and, most importantly to the kids, provide flat-screen TVs and video games for the wait.

Stoker, a pediatric dentist who co-owns the Smile Shop in Reno with Dr. Richard Adams, has a personal interest in architecture and has decided to make the new Smile Shop being built in Spanish Springs a little more inviting and comforting to kids in the chair.

"The project took on a bit of a personal challenge to create ... a working space we'd all want to be in and for the patients, something that's very light, airy, clean and open, and I think not only from a dental standpoint but from a pediatric dental standpoint," he said.

Stoker, who's worked as a dentist since 1980, said the environment is a big factor in helping patients feel comfortable during check-ups.

"I would hope to allay the kind of claustrophobia that goes with dentistry," he said. "(At the Smile Shop) you're walking into a single room with four walls and a door.”

The new location will be constructed of glass and steel and positioned in such a way that lighting through the north and south add a visual element that will keep kids calm.

Gensler, a planning and strategic consulting firm, is handling the architecture and interior design for the Smile Shop. Jim Larson, the project manager, said the goal is to maximize the 8,000-square-foot site that will host two tenants, the second of which is still to be determined.

Larson said the inside of the building will have drywall and acoustics to soften the sounds of the dentist that make so many people uncomfortable.

"People don't like drills and they don't want to hear it in the waiting room," he said. "But this will be a little different. It will be kid-friendly and both of the doctors know how to deal with children."

The style of design may not be new, he said, but it still points to a very modern trend.

"I think it's definitely a stand-alone piece of architecture," he said. "It's not a ranch style or a Tudor style, but it has some of the more common trends. I think it will stand out as a wonderfully simply, contemporary structure but will also be designed to be very integrated into the site."

The Smile Shop offers dental services from infants to young adults. Parents who bring in their babies younger than 1 year old can receive 10- to 20-second exams with the baby's head on their parent's lap, which is all Stoker needs at that first appointment to assess feeding and nursing habits and identify early dental development.

Stoker said being a pediatric dentist means helping to identify potential problems with teeth or gums early in life.

"You're in a situation where you can prevent problems as opposed to treating problems that already exist," he said. "You're dealing with the patient as they're growing and developing and that has more of an impact. ... It's fun to see the kids grow up and see the full cycle."

The new location will be near the intersection of Pyramid Highway and Eagle Canyon to better serve some customers who already drive across town for its Reno office, Stoker said. It's slated to open in fall 2009.
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