Gentle Dental to open in coming weeks in Keene

Oct. 4—A new dental office is scheduled to open soon in Keene, with plans to offer patients lower-cost care and extended operating hours.

Gentle Dental, part of a branded chain of dental practices in New England, is slated to launch late this month or in early November at 333 Winchester St., between Chipotle and T-Mobile.

The Waltham, Mass.-based support organization 42 North Dental runs the administrative back end of nearly 50 practices under the brand, according to Brand Manager Matthew Simko, with locations across the Merrimack Valley and Seacoast as well as in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Simko said Gentle Dental was founded in Brookline, Mass., more than 40 years ago by Drs. Ron Weissman and Sam Shames with a goal of offering dental work that doesn't hurt patients' teeth or their wallets.

"The idea was that patient care should be affordable, you should be able to get all the services you need, and it should be gentle," Simko said. "It shouldn't hurt when you go into the dentist, and those are the three core principles that we still carry on today."

Plans call for Gentle Dental's Keene location to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It will initially offer general dentistry services like cleanings and fillings before later providing patients with more specialized care options. The chain's website says it offers a new patient plan at $57 that includes an exam, X-rays, a cleaning and a treatment plan for follow-up appointments.

Simko said the chain accepts most major dental insurance plans but does not accept Medicare or Medicaid. Gentle Dental also accepts the Essential Dental Plan, a licensed dental savings plan offered at dental practices throughout New England that distinguishes itself from traditional insurance, according to its website. The plan starts at $99 a year for individuals plus $50 per additional person and grants members benefits like exams, X-rays and oral cancer screenings.

"There will be an orthodontist in [the Keene office], an oral surgeon and a periodontist [over time]," Simko said. "Dental implants are a lot of what we focus on as well."

Patients can book appointments with Gentle Dental online before the Keene office opens in the coming weeks, but after the opening patients can walk in to schedule same-day appointments if available, Simko said.

The office will launch with six staff members: a dentist, two assistants, a dental hygienist, a front desk manager and a practice manager. Simko said specialists will visit the office as needed to perform other treatments.

Simko said 42 North Dental was drawn to Keene to open a Gentle Dental location to grow the brand's reach and support what he described as a "really active community [with] ... a lot of foot traffic and a lot of car traffic." He added that the company hopes to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony with city and chamber of commerce officials close to the opening date.

"There's not a whole lot of dentists in southern New Hampshire that have expanded hours, payment options and all their specialties under one roof, and I think that's something that really makes us different," Simko said.

Prospective patients can find more information on the Keene practice and book appointments at www.gentledental.com/dental-offices/nh/keene.

Trisha Nail can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1436, or tnail@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter at @byTrishaNail.