NORTH LIBERTY — Fear of the dentist and dental visits is a common experience. Dr. Nichole Miller would like to make it a thing of the past.
“It’s very rewarding when I can change someone’s attitude about coming to the dentist,” she said.
Dr. Miller, DDS has been a dentist for 11 years and opened her own practice, Ridgeway Dental, in December 2008. A West Branch native, Dr. Miller attended Iowa State University for her undergrad education in pre med. She graduated from the University of Iowa’s School of Dentistry in 1998.
“I always wanted to be in healthcare, and I enjoy doing crafty things, working with my hands,” she said, adding dentistry was an ideal way to combine her interests. Then, there are the hours involved. “I wanted a family too, and to not always be ‘on-call,’ to be able to have regular hours.”
Fresh out of college, she moved to Prairie Du Chen, Wis., where she worked in a dental practice as an associate for a year. Dyersville, Iowa was the next stop before moving to Solon and working for about eight and a half years in Cedar Rapids.
David Williams, founder and director of Performance Therapies, P.C. asked Dr. Miller if she would be interested in moving into the new facility he was building in North Liberty.
Thus, Ridgeway Dental was born, enabling Dr. Miller to be closer to home and making her more available for her kids’ activities. It also allowed her to have her own practice in a location close to schools and businesses, conveniently sited in The Corridor.
The doctor is accepting new patients, with business picking up through word of mouth.
“With the area growing, I think it (business) will just get better and better,” Dr. Miller said.
While certified in general dentistry, Dr. Miller also took additional training in orthodontics, allowing her to install braces. She also offers preventive and cosmetic care thanks in no small part to the numerous advances in the field.
“More adults are coming in for cosmetic work than before.”
She noted more adults are getting braces as well. An increase in overall awareness of the benefits of preventive care has also translated into more business.
Dr. Miller pointed out how preventive dentistry can have systemic advantages. For example, gum disease leads to an increase in pre-term labor and low birth weight babies due to bacteria working its way into the bloodstream. Plaque build-up can also increase the risks of heart disease. For diabetics, dental care is especially important as they have an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. She also pointed out how vitamin deficiencies can often be detected through a good, thorough dental exam.
Dr. Miller recommends regular check-ups at least twice each year, although some people require three to four visits per year. She added a typical visit takes about a half-hour. If problems are detected early enough, often the treatment is less-invasive, and less expensive.
For cosmetic work, she offers tooth-color fillings in addition to the traditional silver. Porcelain crowns and veneers are also available for rebuilding a damaged tooth. In addition to orthodontic care, Dr. Miller offers teeth whitening, including a custom tray which the patient is able to use to self-treat at home over an approximately two week period.
“Everybody wants white teeth,” she noted, pointing out how white teeth are equated with health.
The environment in her office is a key to the services she provides.
“We try to have a gentle touch in a warm, homey environment,” she said, standing in a treatment room outfitted with the latest in dental technology, including a chair appointed with memory foam for comfort. She said she’s had patients so relaxed they fell asleep in the chair and started snoring – to the surprise of both doctor and patient.
Currently, Dr. Miller employs a staff of six, with hopes of expanding as her practice grows.
“I try to surround myself with staff that enjoy being together. It’s a fun, positive atmosphere that makes patients feel comfortable, enjoy the experience, and want to come back.”
Ridgeway Dental is located at 3290 Ridgeway Drive, Suite 4 in the Performance Wellness and Therapies building. Call 626-2119, or find more information on the web at www.ridgewaydental.net . Patients can go online and fill out the necessary forms before coming into the office, which is all-electronic (paperless).
Ridgeway Dental is a provider for Delta Dental and CIGNA. Dr. Miller accepts most insurance plans and submits the claim to the insurance provider directly for the patient. Cash is also accepted and financing is available.
Ridgeway Dental is open Monday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesdays 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.