Creating Smiles in a Stress-Free Zone

Creating  Smiles in a Stress-Free Zone

Photos by Scott Westgate

An appointment for, say, a massage or pedicure can serve as an eagerly awaited highpoint of a busy day. Anticipation of a dental appointment, though, is far less likely to lift the spirits – unless the destination is the Bethlehem office of Keystone Dentistry, which has been recently revitalized and re-envisioned by Dr. Fayez Baki. Understanding that most people dread dental visits, even for a simple cleaning or check up, he realized that the best way to allay anxiety – and help people in maintaining good oral health – was by creating an attractive and soothing atmosphere. “We’ve built a new, ultra-modern, absolutely state-of-the art practice. I see this as the future of dentistry,” he says. “There’s lots and lots of light and an open floor plan” – no long, confusing hallways to navigate – “and we’ve gotten rid of the whole medical feel.”

It was during the pandemic that Dr. Baki, professionally recognized in his field and highly credentialed in cosmetic and general dentistry, considered the next 20 years of his life and career. “Thinking about how I wanted to spend my hours wasn’t so much about dentistry anymore, it was more about how you feel in the environment that you operate in,” he explains. “I’d been working for so long in an environment that didn’t flow well, didn’t feel great – and wasn’t good for staff morale.” 

Recognizing the need to expand in a larger space, Dr. Baki located a sizable office where he saw potential – despite an unappealing layout. Working with a top-notch architect, the space was completely demolished and, starting from scratch, the dingy interior transformed into a dental dream, with artwork, lighting, music, and relaxing aromatherapy scents creating a zen-like feel. “Most patients will tell you, and this is pretty much a consensus, it feels like a spa in here!” he reports. “All we need are massage chairs now.” Further ambiance enhancements include a contemporary wall fireplace with a voluminous flat screen hanging above. However, rather than a blaring TV show interfering with the tranquility, the digital display features tropical fish gliding in a dreamy dance – a fun change of pace from a traditional aquarium.

One of the goals of the new office design was to provide privacy, with every room separated and insulated from the next – yet without being closed off entirely from the practice and still allowing superior airflow throughout. Plasma lights and other devices to kill bacteria negate the need for portable systems mandated during Covid restrictions. “All rooms have an exterior window, and each room has two etched sliding glass doors, so you can see a little – but not a lot – and they don’t block the light,” Dr. Baki says. “From the middle of the waiting room you can see some of the operatories, but you can’t really see what’s going on inside them.” 

Dr. Baki, who has lived in six major cities around the world, was recruited to the Lehigh Valley after completing his studies at the prestigious New York University College of Dentistry – and didn’t expect to stay in the area very long. But by 2003, he launched his Keystone Dentistry practice and has been providing the latest dental procedures and techniques ever since – and now in a fresh and sophisticated environment. “This practice is more like what you may find in someplace like Beverly Hills, Miami, or New York City – metropolitan areas, not suburbia,” he says, noting further that the people of the Lehigh Valley “deserve that type of facility, and modern progressive dentistry. Medicine has brought high-tech advancements to this area, but dentistry has been slow to follow.”

Positive interactions with patients are fundamental in establishing trust and long-term dental relationships. “Our job as a provider is firstly to educate the patient about conditions they may have or that may arise, and teach them how to improve and maintain their oral health because it is part of their complete overall health,” Dr. Baki says. “It’s not our job to judge a patient. The bravest thing a patient can do is to come and see us.”  He believes that dental professionals should be commending their patients for taking that step, not making them feel bad about what has occurred. “You don’t know what people have gone through, you don’t know the circumstances, you don’t know how much of this was from childhood.” The entire staff strives to make people feel comfortable and better about themselves – and become super-optimistic. 

Another major focus is on the next generation. “A lot of adults have had questionable experiences in their dental life and history. Kids today, from the time they’re young, need to come in and have a positive experience at the dentist,” Dr. Baki says. “From the onset, they’ll never develop a fear, a phobia, or a discomfort about dental visits.” He believes that by creating an environment and experience the younger generation will find stimulating – and the older generation will find impressive – makes Keystone Dentistry a place where they enjoy going. 

Along with all types of general dentistry, a full spectrum of cosmetic and prosthetic-driven services can be utilized to produce an optimal smile through high-end technology – such as a digital scanner that replaces putting impression material in a patient’s mouth. “The days of people gagging on those materials have been eliminated. Teeth are scanned in real time in 3-D,” Dr. Baki says. Patients can view the model of their teeth on a screen – which may be used to make a full set of veneers or plan Invisalign® treatments. And because it’s 3-D printed, that model can be used over and over: If there’s any kind of issue, there’s no need to re-do it. “This is also used to design smile make-overs, so you get to see in real time what we’re going to do before we even get to build the ceramic.”

Digital design of that desired smile is accomplished through total communication with Keystone Dentistry’s lab. “There’s no guess work involved. Patients won’t be surprised by the look of the final product they’ll have in the end,” Dr. Baki says. “One of the biggest issues with any kind of aesthetic work, whether plastic surgery or cosmetic dentistry, is that you don’t know exactly what you’re going to look like. Ceramics built on digital design meet exact specifications.” 

In the world of dentistry, a master ceramist is a true artist, fully adept at working with ever-evolving materials. “Being able to layer porcelain in a manner that mimics natural teeth takes exceptional skill,” Dr. Baki says. “That involves not only making teeth, but also factoring in light reflection and absorption to produce that translucent natural look that our creator has given us. We’re not trying to just replace teeth with porcelain teeth. We’re trying to make sure you have a natural smile that is built with porcelain – one that looks natural, looks like that individual, and does not belong on anybody else’s face.”

Explore the possibilities of creating a brighter smile – and a happier, more confident you – by scheduling a consultation with the forward-thinking and contagiously upbeat Dr. Fayez Baki. 



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