Let’s be honest. The dentist is usually the last place any of us want to be. Whether it’s for a routine cleaning or a more serious procedure, a visit with the dentist, while necessary for our health, isn’t usually our favorite 2 days of the year. Unless you are walking into Deschutes River Dentistry. By simply stepping into the door of this dental office you’ll know it’s unlike any office you have ever been to before.

Deschutes River Dentistry
The receptionist area is bright and inviting, with fun license plate lights and a cool architectural look. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

After opening the door, you may hesitate, thinking you are at the wrong address. Clearly, you’ve entered some kind of retro-lounge or maybe even a themed spa, but definitely not a dentist’s office. Upbeat music is playing in the background. The wood, sheet metal and brick architecture invites fun and smiles, not anxiety. The lights are covered in old license plates, they have comfy chairs, a TV and local Americana on the walls, including old Washington fruit posters. In the corner there is an entire kid’s clubhouse area with toys, games, another TV and even a Galaga-Pacman game.

See, not a dentist’s office.

If it wasn’t for the big logo on the brick wall behind the smiling, friendly receptionists, you would probably turn around and leave. But, she welcomed you the minute you stepped in the door as if you were old friends.

Deschutes River Dentistry
The kid’s clubhouse is so fun, you may have trouble getting your kid’s to leave – not something anyone has ever had an issue with at a dentist’s office. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

This feeling you get when you entered is no accident. The Deschutes River Dentistry website states, “We’re determined to break paradigms and bring true joy to healthcare.” This is the main vision of Dr. Andrew Edwards who believes no one – not the patients, not the staff and definitely not himself – wants to go to a dentist office that is not fun and full of laughter.

“We are in a profession where it’s very difficult to fight the perception of what it is,” says Dr. Edwards with a natural smile that never seems to leave his face. “While it’s never going to be a trip to Disneyland, we can make it fun. Everyone here is smiling and has a good attitude. And there shouldn’t be any pain during your visit. We have many options to make that happen for every patient.”

To help you feel more at ease, the office has massage chairs and noise cancelling headphones. In addition, you will not see any bright lights hanging over your head or utensils trays crowded around you, something that Edwards says is claustrophobic for many.

It was obvious during our interview that this is a group of people that are inherently good-natured and friendly. This stems from a genuine compassion for other people and wanting their patients to have a good experience doing something that is often feared by many. “If you are smiling and having fun, the people around you are more likely to feel at ease and you might even have a little fun, too,” Dr. Edwards explains. “So, our attitudes make our patients feel better about being here.”

Dr. Andrew Edwards
Dr. Andrew Edwards enjoys spending time outdoors doing a variety of activates from picking apples to crabbing. Photo credit: Deschutes River Dentistry

Dr. Edwards graduated from University Missouri Kansas City in 2007 and secured a position in a traditional dentist office environment. “There was just a lot of tension,” Dr. Edwards says. “He wanted me to buy into his practice, but I knew after just a week that I didn’t want to work at a place like that.” So, he purchased his own practice in Kansas City and built his business until five years ago, when he and his family moved to Thurston County and bought an existing local practice.

When he is not working, Dr. Edwards enjoys being outdoors with his friends and family with lots of smiling, laughter and no talk of dentistry.

Top of The Line Technology

On top of the “joyful culture” and comfy accommodations, Deschutes River Dentistry has advanced technology to help give their patient’s top quality care. For example, they use an intra-oral camera to really see what’s going on in your mouth. The team then makes sure to explain things in ways their patients understand, while showing them the work that needs to be done, which Edwards says helps to foster trust between patient and doctor.

Deschutes River Dentistry
Dr. Edwards shows how the 3D camera allows them to get better pictures of a patient’s teeth than traditional methods, resulting in better care. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

They utilize low radiation digital x-ray, 3D x-ray, and itero scanner to get better images of your teeth. Better imaging means better crowns and implants as they will be more accurately sized and shaped. The 3D Xray also helps diagnose TMJ problems as well as detect cancers and abscesses that may have otherwise gone undetected. Finally, Dr. Edwards uses lasers to correct the soft tissue, so that final restorations are aesthetically pleasing.

Deschutes River Dentistry is a full-service dentist office offering cleaning and prevention, family and cosmetic dentistry, tooth replacement, extraction/preservation, oral appliances, orthodontics and surgery. They also have sedation services available.

Deschutes River Dentistry
The team at Deschutes River Dentistry is one of the friendliest, most bubbly staffs you will meet at any office. Photo credit: Deschutes River Dentistry

“For me, when a new patient comes in and says ‘Wow this is way different than I was expecting,’ that’s one of the highest compliments we can get,” says Dr. Edwards, still smiling.

To see for yourself the difference a smile can make, visit Deschutes River Dentistry’s website or call them at 360-786-9354 to make an appointment.

You can also join them at their open house July 7 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m at their office at 111 Tumwater Blvd, Suite A-300 in Tumwater. There will be a live music, beer, wine, food and of course the friendly staff will be there to meet you and answer any questions you may have, though Dr. Edwards hopes there won’t be too much dentistry talk. “Who wants to talk about dentistry anyway,” he says with a smile.


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