High tech dental opens in Princeville

PRINCEVILLE — A new dental practice aims to reduce the flow of referrals off island by offering technologically advanced comprehensive family dentistry.

Princeville Dental at Princeville Shopping Center is the only dentist office in Princeville, filling a void between Hanalei and Kilauea offices. They want to be accessible to all without having to refer people off island for treatment.

“We are basically trying to create the most comfortable and accommodating high tech environment that you can, with comprehensive services that no other practice can offer and without the wait times,” said Thomas Atkin, DMD, co-owner of Princeville Dental with Matt Pierce, DMD.

The practice opened Dec. 2, and will have a grand opening from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday in Suite G220 at 5-4280 Kuhio Highway. The event will be catered and an opportunity to see the new dental office technology in the former Pilates studio space.

The business plan looked at the need of the North Shore based on the number of offices, the wait time for appointments, and the number of referrals out to specialists. It is also designed to accommodate visitor dental emergencies and can accept the state and Mainland insurances.

Both worked in private practice and saved to build the practice without loans or financing. They believe that debt influences how a practice is run. They employ a hygienist, two dental assistants and a front office manager.

“We felt Kauai needed a dental practice that was high tech enough that people didn’t feel the need to fly to Oahu or the Mainland,” Atkin said. “We bring a different style of dentistry with a high tech, edgy side.”

Pierce specializes in orthodontics, bracket braces, implants and conscious intravenous sedation.

Atkin’s has postdoctoral training in prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, making him a specialist with root canals, invisalign aligner clear braces and wisdom teeth.

“Between the two of us we cover the bases,” Atkin’s said.

Procedures are aided by an “i-Cat” panoramic dental X-ray scanner. It uses lower level radiation than standard panel X-ray, to render 3D images that assist dentists with implants, orthodontics, and oral surgery. Other root canal technology involving irrigation helps prevent flaring and infection by more effectively killing bacteria.

“We are the only practice on the North Shore that can perform impacted wisdom tooth surgery,” he said.

Atkin said the technology is available at three island practices and helps to prevent possible nerve damage from procedures by mapping out the position and length of nerves inside and outside of the tooth. The ability to look at teeth from any dimension and see the internal anatomy of the tooth is an emerging standard in dentistry.

“Until now we could only do a two dimensional X-ray,” he said. “Now we can map soft and hard tissue with a three dimensional rendering of the entire skull.”

There are also no chemicals to dump down the drain with 3D imaging, Pierce added. Fillings are also strictly composite and the office does not utilize mercury or metals.

Pierce said the clinic joins around one percent of dental practices use conscious intravenous sedation. As far as he knows Princeville Dental is the only general practice clinic to use it on Kauai.

It is different than the nitrous oxide gas, and while the oral anti-anxiety Benzodiazepine pills are essentially the same medication, the intravenous dosage is more precise and the patient’s blood pressure, oxygen and heart are monitored.

“The biggest problem with pills is that you can’t monitor or mix medications,” Pierce said. “One dosage can affect people differently.”

The doctors will recommend sedation in certain cases involving strong anxiety or a potentially difficult procedure such as removing impacted wisdom teeth, oral surgery and implants. Not everyone needs sedation but it is available.

“It is for extremely anxious, dentally phobic people that will tell us they only go to the dentist when they absolutely have to and some haven’t been to one in 10 years,” Pierce said. “We just don’t want to have that aspect of inhibiting them from getting treatment.”

Atkin’s and Pierce both graduate from Las Vegas Dental School and have been in practice for around seven years.

Atkin worked at other practices and was a U.S. Navy dental officer on Oahu until 2012. He is a Salt Lake City native who enjoys surfing, fishing, paddling and farming.

Pierce divides his time with a high-end general and cosmetic practice in Las Vegas and will join the Kauai office full time in June. He serves with the U.S. Army National Guard.

Info: 212-1806 or visit princevilledental.com

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