PPR champlain smiles photo 1006

STAFF PHOTO/ROB FOUNTAIN Dr. Athena Graves, DDS, (right) and Office Coordinator Heather Beaudette stand in Champlain Smiles new office location on Tom Miller Road in Plattsburgh.

A new location is bringing plenty of smiles to a local dental practice.

Dr. Athena Graves’s dental practice, Champlain Smiles, is now located at 212 Tom Miller Road across from the intersection of Smithfield Boulevard. Graves said her husband, Jeff Graves, and two others, Terry Stone and Howard Coons, converted the former residence into the new home of the dental practice. 

They started work in mid-April and opened at the new location in mid-September.

“This was a chance to really create the environment we want to provide for our patients,” she said.

Relaxation emphasized

The goal is to make dental patients as relaxed as possible. The five operatory rooms are decorated in soothing earth tones, with windows and flat-screen televisions for the patient to watch as work takes place.

Each room has its own digital X-ray unit, which reduces the amount of radiation required. Each room is also equipped with a computer for access to patient charts.

The staff keep all of the dental tools behind the patient, which also helps them relax. Graves said some studies have shown that 50 percent of the population doesn’t go to the dentist.

“It’s all very calming. A lot of people don’t like going to the dentist,” Graves said. “I’m trying to make the whole experience of going to the dentists less scary.”

The bright, spacious waiting area features several windows as well as a flat-screen television and gas fireplace. The walls are adorned with framed artworks and sculptures.

Wall-to-wall carpet and padded armchairs feature earth tones for a comfortable experience. 

The new location is very visible and easy to access, Graves said.

In addition to regular preventative and cosmetic dental procedures, Graves and her staff focus on overall health of their patients. As part of that, every patient can take an apple as they leave the office.

New technologies offered

She said periodontal disease frequently is linked with other conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Nitrous oxide is available for those patients who still can’t relax during a visit to the dentist.

One treatment available is Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved procedure for laser treatment of gum disease. That is usually less painful than traditional gum surgery and results in speedier recovery and healing. 

Graves said she is very proud of her staff.

Her husband is the office manager and Heather Beaudette is the office coordinator. The staff also includes hygienists Michele Wright and Ryan Pepper and dental assistants Beth Trombley, Luanne Jahanbakhsh and Kelly Provost.

Graves grew up in Ogdensburg and graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1988. She then spent a year and a half at Case Western University in Cleveland, then received a Bachelor of Science Degree from St. Lawrence University.

Graves went on to earn a doctor of dental surgery degree from Buffalo State University. She worked at dental practices in Rutland, Vt., and Binghamton before she and her family moved to Plattsburgh and opened a practice at Airport Plaza on Route 3 in 2006.

“It was wonderful to move back to the North Country,” Graves said.

Emergencies handled

Champlain Smiles has a Facebook page. The website is about to be updated, Graves said.

Champlain Smiles is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Graves said the early hours are mainly for people who have to go to work or school.

“You’d be surprised how popular 7 a.m. is,” Graves said.

Staff are also available to handle dental emergencies that may arise at other times.

She hopes to offer evening and weekend hours at some point in the future.

Champlain Smiles accepts cash, checks, major credit cards and several forms of dental insurance. Beaudette said those include Delta Dental, Cigna, Met Life and Empire Plan 300, as well as other plans that are willing to work with her.

Payment plans are available through CareCredit.

The popular candy buy-back program will return this year, Beaudette said. Children can receive $1 a pound for Halloween candy as well as a toothbrush and information on healthy snacks.

The candy goes to Operation Adopt A Soldier in Glens Falls for distribution to military personnel.

New patients accepted

Graves said she has developed a loyal group of patients throughout the North Country. The practice is accepting new patients.

“I absolutely adore my patients,” she said.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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