/ By Maddie Werley / Feb 15, 2019 / grandrapids.org
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No one likes going to the dentist.
Or do they? For clients at Smile Dental Partners, dreading the dentist is a thing of the past, thanks to a unique approach to dental care that includes providing exceptional customer service.
Dr. Darren Riopelle, owner of Smile Dental Partners, says that is the most satisfying part of his job: engaging a group of people and showing them there is a different way to go about dentistry that creates a fun, enjoyable experience for both staff and patients.
“There’s an ‘aha!’ moment,” Riopelle said. “People can’t always pinpoint exactly what it was, but they know they had an expectation of what going to the dentist would be, and what they experience with us is something totally different.”
Smile Dental Partners is a team of general dentists, pediatric dentists and orthodontists all under the same roof working together with the same patients. This allows their team to address the whole family’s needs, from birth to adulthood, without needing to refer anyone out. Additionally, Smile Dental has a separate building that provides all the back-office support, so the practices can focus strictly on the patient rather than worry about answering calls or billing insurances. When a patient is in the office, he or she is the top priority.
“It’s really great for families,” Riopelle said. “They don’t need to worry about filling out multiple insurance forms, getting referrals or finding additional offices. It all happens in-house, so the continuity of care is a lot better.”
As Riopelle says, dental care offers an opportunity to have face-to-face interactions that are becoming less frequent in today’s world of technology. With this opportunity comes a responsibility to engage people on a personal level.
Smile Dental Partners is dedicated to doing this on a variety of levels. Each of their locations offer separate wings for children and adults. When patients walk into the practice, they are greeted warmly and directed to the right or left, into the pediatric wing or the adult wing. The pediatric wing is completely “kidded out” with child-friendly décor, including a large concrete tree, a six-foot long fish tank, the area’s largest treasure chest, and a giant touch screen to play games.
The adult side, too, has a unique touch. Each room has a door that can close for patient privacy and all dental chairs are situated facing the door, ensuring dentists are making eye contact upon greeting.
Aside from providing excellent customer service, Smile Dental also sees community involvement as a top priority. They have coordinated a variety of community initiatives, from their free dental clinic to the annual Halloween candy buy-back program, and interactive presentations at area schools in February for Dental Health month.
“We have a really fun program where we go into local second grade classrooms, and some preschools, and we teach the kids how to brush and floss. It’s fun and interactive and I absolutely love it,“ Riopelle said. “I don’t have much time for it, but I like to participate and stay in touch with the program because it’s such a good time.”
An exciting new service in Grand Rapids
Smile Dental is partnering with Anesthesia Practice Consultants, PC in Grand Rapids to start Daydreams PC. Daydreams will provide pediatric and other dental care under general anesthesia.
“We made it a kid-friendly area to do sedation dentistry,” Riopelle said. “It’s general sedation, just like what happens at hospitals, but hospitals are often not a viable option due to the reimbursements and the typical wait-time can be 6-9 months. Our setup allows us to have them in and out within just a couple weeks.” Riopelle said. “It’s very unique and will be a dramatic shift in how kids are going to be treated.”
Daydreams will begin seeing patients on March 4 and is located at 4505 Cascade Road SE, Suite B.
Smile Dental Partners has three West Michigan locations, in Grand Haven, Muskegon, and the latest addition in Grand Rapids.