Many of us dread going to the dentist either out of anxiety or for lack of time, even though a visit benefits your teeth and your Instagram.
Up until recently, to make matters even worse, dental offices also tended to be pretty banal spaces decorated with old magazines and posters with dad jokes about only brushing the teeth you want to keep.
Around the city, however, a new generation of dentist offices has cropped up forgoing the Lite FM format for hip Spotify playlists and creative design to put you at ease and improve the experience.
Making it feel inviting
Sitting in the waiting lounge of Dental House feels like hanging out in a friend’s impeccably designed Greenwich Village apartment, complete with statement-making pieces that Dr. Sonya Krasilnikov and Dr. Irina Sinensky have picked up on their travels around the world, from Murano glass vases to Thai candles to a giant toothbrush sculpture.
“We want to have a fresh, new vibe with a warm, homelike feel that eliminates the stigma of the dentist office,” Krasilnikov says. “Over our careers, we had both seen our fair share of practices that relied on their local Staples for décor inspiration.”
Instead, they took cues from luxury hotels and worked with New York-based KCC Design + Build to bring their Pinterest-like vision to life. Along with Art Deco design elements like herringbone floors, quartz stonework and vintage brass, the office features a vertical green wall made from preserved plants.
“We wanted to bring in the natural beauty of the outdoors,” Krasilnikov says.
They even carefully considered the bathroom wallpaper — a whimsical pineapple-print by Osborne & Little.
“Our patients love the space — some even do a double take to make sure they’re in the right place,” Krasilnikov says.
Focus on art and music
For Dr. Jennifer Plotnick of Grand Street Dental in Williamsburg, humanizing the dental experience was a key factor in building her two-year-old office.
“I designed the space myself to incorporate earth tones and light to make it feel soothing,” she says.
Along with custom-built shelves and furniture, Plotnick also has her own Spotify and Apple Music channels and around 30 pieces of art throughout the office primarily by friends, patients she’s traded with or her husband, the fine art photographer Kent Rogowski. (“I’m a little biased but my favorite piece is the 72-inch collage of self-help books that Kent made called ‘You and Me,’” she says.)
In between the reception and treatment areas, there is a 10-foot, frameless Insensation door that creates a minimalist feel without being devoid of character.
“When you walk through it, it’s like stepping into another dimension, from a homey and relaxed space to a clean and organized medical space with white floors and soft cove lighting,” Plotnick says.
All about the environment
DNTL, which opened in Chelsea in January, calls itself the city’s first walk-in dental bar; you can pop in for anything from a cleaning and checkup to express laser whitening or even a “date night” floss and polish service between routine cleanings.
DNTL worked with Urban Chalet from San Francisco to design an office that felt organic.
“Traditionally, dentist offices have been about the provider’s needs,” says Dr. Ben Elchami, the chief dental officer at the practice. “We took a different approach and built our space around the patient’s needs and carefully considered ways to make it Zen.”
Highlights include a moss centerpiece in the lobby reception area, which “brings us back to nature in a very vivid and refreshing way,” Elchami says.
The office incorporates a green sensibility into its practice as well.
“Being eco-friendly is very important to us, which is why we also have bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable floss and auto-switch energy-saving lights,” Elchami says.