WILLIAMSTOWN -- A new dental practice on Main Street aims to provide a patient-centered approach from its Main Street space.
Dr. Karen Lartin, who began seeing patients earlier this month, said her practice's mission focuses on patient education, comfort and having a dedicated team of employees.
"You can have every dental gadget out there, but in my 20 years of experience, I've learned that employees really make the difference," Lartin said. "I heard a quote recently that one great employee is worth three good ones, and I think that's true."
Lartin, a Williamstown resident, has over 20 years in the field. Following a hospital-based residence at Northwestern Dental School in Chicago, she worked at dental practices in Pittsfield, North Adams and Williamstown. Lartin said after years of working at different practices, she decided it was time to set out on her own.
"It was now or never," she said.
Lartin is joined by her three employees: front desk manager Lisa Varuzzo, dental assistant Christin Vanaman and dental hygienist Bernadette Bernardy.
Lartin said one of her goals is helping a patient receive a correct diagnosis right from the beginning. Too many patients receive an incorrect diagnosis, she said, some sometimes none at all.
"One of my favorite things about the field is taking the time to get a real clear diagnosis and a plan for patients," she said.
Her practice utilizes the newest technology for dentistry, she said, including a camera that can take pictures of the inside of a person's mouth.
"Instead of just telling a patient there's a crack in their tooth, I can show it to them, too," she explained. "I can show a patient that it's not about me, it's about them."
Another small touch that many patients have responded positively to is the option of warm water while they clean their teeth, which some practices don't have.
"People who have sensitive teeth really like that," she said, explaining cold water can be uncomfortable for some.
Lartin's practice is housed in a building at 279 Main St., which she said was recently completely renovated. The building has seen many uses over the years, she said, originally built to be a gas station. From the 1970s, the building housed two home furnishing stores and a bike shop.
The recent renovation features all new furnishings and fixtures, with an eye for patient comfort, Lartin said. Most offices now use an open floor plan, she said, but in the interest of patient privacy, they chose a semi-open plan. The practice features two treatment rooms and one consultation room.
"We wanted to make it serene, calm and clean," she said. "We want people to be comfortable."
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