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Smile: New dental office opens in Sterling

Posted: April 30, 2014 - 6:57pm  |  Updated: April 30, 2014 - 9:15pm
Dental Hygienist Ame Nienhuis examines Martha Allgiaer of Sterling at Moose River Dental April 23 in Sterling. Moose River Dental opened on April 14 and is located on the Sterling Highway at the corner of Swanson River Road.  Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion
Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion
Dental Hygienist Ame Nienhuis examines Martha Allgiaer of Sterling at Moose River Dental April 23 in Sterling. Moose River Dental opened on April 14 and is located on the Sterling Highway at the corner of Swanson River Road.

Sterling residents have a new family dentistry in town.

Moose River Dental, located off the Sterling Highway near the Sterling Community Center, opened for business on April 14. Dr. Edwin Allgair said convenience and comfort are some of the things patients can expect.

“We do cleanings, fillings, extraction, wisdom teeth x-rays, serve kids as well as adults … a little bit of everything,” he said. “I know how to treat high needs patients and how to make people comfortable.”

Allgair said he was looking around Soldotna for a space to open a new dental practice when the single level home became available after it was completed last August. The day it went on the market, he purchased the house for $265,000. He said the building was easily converted into a dentist office.

The two bedrooms were transformed into operatory rooms with digital x-rays and LED lighting for the dental chairs. The floors are radiant heat and a Kinetico water system was installed. A dividing wall was added to separate the reception area from the sterilization station and kitchen appliances were removed so dental equipment and supplies could be stored. An additional sink was added so patients can brush their teeth and afterwards receive a hot towel to wipe their face.

Allgair has lived in Sterling for one year. He graduated from Ohio State University and the Alaska Academy of General Dentistry. For 15 years he worked in Bethel, where he served as the dental director at Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, a large hospital based clinic that had 54 clinical sites and a staff of 75. In Sterling he has a staff of four.

The Moose River Dental staff includes one dental hygienist, Ame Nienhuis, dental assistant Jessica Huff and office manager Norma Bradford.

Bradford said she has lived in Sterling since 1972 and there has never been a dentist. She previously worked for Peninsula Health Services in Soldotna and said it is nice to only have to drive a couple minutes to get to work.

Allgair said his office should be convenient for the more than 6,000 Sterling residents who drive to Soldotna for most of their dental needs.

The normal ratio of people to dentist is about 2,000, he said. With his location close to the Sterling Elementary School his goal is to be more convenient so kids can come right after school for an appointment, as long as parents have signed a treatment plan.

Kids from Rural Cap in Sterling were invited for a tour of the office. Allgair said the kids had a good time having a water fight with the equipment.

“We desensitize them to a dental office so when they need regular care they can get it done as a preventive service and not a fearful experience with any kind of discomfort,” he said.

Moose River Dental takes almost all insurance plans and will submit no PPO providers, Bradford said.

Moose River Dental held a grand opening celebration Wednesday and allowed the community to see the facility. With all the extra acreage outside the building, Allgair deadpanned that he would like to build a Frisbee golf course and horseshoe pit and a have barbeque area for staff and community parties.

 

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com

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