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With more space, the dental clinic has added a greater sense of patient comfort. “We’re big enough to have room for parents and siblings to be alongside of some of our younger patients,” said the dentist. “If we can make them comfortable, it’s easier for them to realize that this isn’t a scary place to come into. When we accomplish that, it’s half the battle to helping provide care for our younger patients.”
Staff builds success
Expanding the facility was a key to the Pieper Dental Clinic’s growth, however the dentist points to his staff as the most critical factor in patient care.
“A lot of the success we have enjoyed here is due to the people that work with me. We have seven women that make up our staff here, and they are invaluable,” Dr. Pieper said.
The Pieper Dental Clinic staff has demonstrated its teamwork by remaining in tact, with no turnover.
Dr. Pieper notes with a smile that dental assistant Wendy Scholz is the “new staff member on the block” with 11 years of experience to her credit.
Sherry Schneider has been a dental assistant for 20 years, the longest tenure of any staff member.
Other staff members include receptionist Terese Koenigs; Jane Mertens, receptionist/insurance specialist; and hygienists Kim Hephner, Gladys Rickert and Valerie Weidensee.
Quarter century of changes
Dr. Pieper has witnessed a wide range of technology, treatment and service changes in his 25 years of practice in Kiel.
The clinic has made the complete switch to digital X-ray technology. Gone are the days of long waits for development of X-rays. Today, patients can see their digital oral images right on a television screen in the chair. The images can be enlarged and highlighted with cursors to help provide a better understanding of oral health care.
Patient records that once required large filing cabinets are now shuffled and stored in digital fashion, as the Pieper Dental Clinic has moved to a paperless office.
One other big change is the introduction of a cad-cam system that enables the dental staff to fabricate crowns right in the office.
“It’s truly amazing what has transpired in this realm,” Dr. Pieper said. “The technology has evolved. The materials are more bio-compatible, easier to work with and much better in esthetics than five or 10 years ago.”
Some things remain constant
As much as some aspects of dental care have changed, some things still remain the same as when Dr. Pieper first came to Kiel.
“Teeth haven’t changed, and we still have a lot of dental decay in our locale. We see more decay in children than you would see in other areas of the country where they have community water fluoridation,” he noted. “And we treat a lot of patients from rural areas, where the fluoride level in well water can not be optimized.”
While some of his big-city counterparts may focus on esthetics like bleaching/ whitening, the focus at the Pieper Dental Clinic centers more around function. “We focus on getting them healthy and keeping them healthy,” he said.