by Rebecca Antsis
Imagine if a state-of-the-art dentistry practice had a lovechild with a holistic spa: the light aroma of peppermint and cloves would waft pleasantly though the air as the soft whir of a nearby air purifier commingled with the ongoing susurrus produced by gentle cascades of a zen waterfall. KIND bars would sit next to a Keurig, perched atop a hotel-style mini-fridge housing exotic, bottled iced teas. Nestled in the corner would be the deep, inviting cushion of a leather massage chair. Staff members would greet co-workers and patients with a radiant conviviality.
Fortunately, innovative imagination can become reality, as evidenced by Heritage Dental, in Montgomeryville.
Heritage Dental was conceived from Dr. Beth Skovron’s inquisitive, scientific mind and compassionate heart, compelled by the desire to create a dental office unlike any other she had frequented. “My concept was to create a completely different environment—one that didn’t feel at all like a dentist’s office,” says Skovron.
Increasingly, Skovron began to incorporate spa-like elements into her practice, elements such as an aromatherapy diffuser, massage chairs throughout the office, warm towels and lotions, nutrient-rich snacks and herbal teas. While patients are in the dentist chair, they can put on headphones and select from a choice of soothing imagery and music. Heritage Dental even makes its own organic lip balm.
Skovron’s drive to improve patients’ experiences in her office merged with her attentiveness to patients’ other interests and concerns, leading her to research and embrace holistic dentistry.
According to NaturalDentistry.us, “Truly holistic dentists are dentists who perform dentistry that is good for the body as well as the teeth and gums.” Holistic dentistry focuses not only on treating a problem that has cropped up in a patient’s oral care, but also on preventive measures. Holistic dentists consider root causes of a dental issue from a whole-body perspective, and they work to ensure the whole body and well-being of the patient are not adversely affected by what transpires in the dentist’s chair.
As a holistic dentist, Skovron states that, “in our office, we use practices and procedures that take care of dental needs in the safest, most natural way possible.” Heritage Dental honors a commitment to the use of metal-free dentistry. It also specializes in the holistic practice of safe mercury removal, which protects the client and staff from mercury vapor during extraction. Charcoal rinses and full-body barriers are employed to minimize and shield patients and practitioners from the deleterious effects of mercury exposure and the potential toxicity associated with mercury poisoning.
Because mercury is also considered toxic to the environment, Heritage Dental uses environmental filters and follows all protocol and procedures to ensure that mercury does not make its way into the sewer system.
Building a strong and cohesive team has been critical to Heritage Dental’s success. Skovron regularly plans group outings for her dental staff; past trips have included skydiving and a painting class. Skovron also subsidizes continued education and training for employees so they remain up-to-date and their skills diversify. This commitment shows itself in the palpably friendly, relaxed and caring atmosphere inside the office.
Skovron’s second-in-command, office manager and patient liaison Rosie Hetrick, is perhaps Heritage Dental’s most effusive fan: “I love Dr. Beth and I love what I do,” enthuses Hetrick. “She’s amazing. As a team we are so unique in that we really go above and beyond as far as dental treatment and dental care with our state-of-the-art equipment, and we’re constantly striving for exceptional service by keeping up with continuing education and training. Then we also have this holistic zen vibe. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Our team and patients are like family.”
With a staff that takes a whole-body/whole-mind approach and has advanced technologies at their fingertips, with the knowledge to properly execute targeted procedures, it is no wonder Heritage Dental is growing.
To meet the needs of its booming practice, Heritage Dental will celebrate a grand opening in April as it expands into a larger space and offers new amenities. The office will gain an additional one-third of square footage and will nearly double in space. Also in the works is a Zen Room replete with more massage chairs, an expanded aromatherapy program and additional dental treatment rooms to accommodate new specialists.
Since the beginning, Dr. Skovron has challenged the perception that a visit to the dentist has to be cold and clinical to deliver excellent care. As her practice’s success and growth attests, more patients are opening their hearts, minds and mouths to the Heritage Dental experience.
Heritage Dental: Meet the Team
Rosie Hetrick, Office Manager
Philadelphia native, Quakertown-raised and current denizen of Harleysville, Rosie is the “go-to girl” overseeing all office operations at Heritage Dental. Nothing occurs without Rosie knowing about it first. As patient liaison, Rosie is the patient’s primary point of contact. With clarity, she lays out the feasibility of every client’s individualized treatment plan and works hard to ensure each patient’s dental needs are met. As a 25-year veteran of the industry, her buoyant positivity seems unflagging, and her care for the well-being of patients that visit Heritage Dental is palpable. She emphatically states: “I love what I do.” Rosie is X-ray- and CPR-certified as well as a member of the American Association of Dental Office Managers. In her spare time, when she is not visiting with her two granddaughters, Rosie enjoys supporting her husband George in his side business as a DJ.
Lucy Tho, Front Desk Administrator
Events sponsored by Heritage Dental more than likely had their details ironed out by Lucy Tho. In most cases, Lucy is also the first point of contact for anyone entering the office. Born and raised in Landsdale, Lucy has been on the Heritage Dental team for over two years. In addition to event coordination, Lucy organizes staff outings, such as their latest team-building adventure, indoor skydiving. On the administrative side, Lucy is Heritage Dental’s social media liaison and official “poster”. Lucy describes herself as “very open, forward and friendly” and abides by and upholds the dictum to “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Lucy adds: “Here, at Heritage Dental, we treat everyone like family.” When not with her extended family of clients and coworkers, Lucy’s time is occupied by her toddler Julien and by making plans to welcome her second child into this world in June.
Kristin Silcox, Dental Hygienist
Doylestown resident Kristin Silcox has only a few pictures of her mom—because of her mother’s intense displeasure with her own smile, she rarely agreed to pose for photos. Consequently, Kristin has made it something of her life’s mission to ensure people love their smiles, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Dental Medicine after receiving her bachelor of science degree with a concentration in research. Kristin takes the initiative to co-create with her colleagues a laid-back atmosphere at Heritage Dental. She refers to Heritage as her “dental home”, where she hopes patients feel safe enough to put their dental anxieties to rest. When she’s not treating patients full-time at Heritage Dental, Kristin can be found playing with her two tabby cats, Lily and Tom, cooking with fresh pasta, attending festivals or going on long nature hikes with her fiancé.
Ashley Ziegenfus, Dental Hygienist
Currently a Conshohocken resident, but originally hailing from the woods of the Poconos, Ashley is the self-described “quirky one” of Heritage Dental. After three years of employment, Ashley is still the newest addition to the team. At 25, Ashley is also the youngest employee, thus nicknamed the “baby” of the office. This suits her just fine, and she admits to relying on an arsenal of silly jokes to put patients at ease. Motivated all her life by strong empathic proclivities, Ashley has always known that her purpose is to help others care for their health. Her studies in kinesiology revealed how the head and mouth impact overall well-being, which put her interest in dentistry into focus. In addition to being a Pilates-Barre instructor, Ashley’s interests include plants and sustainable energy.
Thea Davey, Expanded Functions Dental Assistant
Heritage Dental’s resident aromatherapy expert Thea Davey describes herself as “loud, fun and really loving.” Underneath the boisterous exterior is a heart that is immensely caring toward her patients. During anesthesia, Thea will provide hot towels for patients, keep the diffuser well stocked with essential oils and even hold patients’ hands if they are fearful of a procedure. Outside of Heritage Dental, Thea is a Boy Scout Scoutmaster. She spends most of her free time in the wilderness fishing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking with her scouts, a troop that includes her son. She is an avid fan of country and Christian rock music and resides with her husband in Lansdale.
Ian Rapp, Expanded Functions Dental Assistant
Hailing from the Oreland/Fort Washington area, Ian is a self-described calming influence in the office environment for not only his coworkers, but for patients as well. On what he loves best about Heritage Dental: “The whole experience we provide. I really love how we can overcome the anxiety that patients walk in with.” Outside of the office, Ian can be found giving swimming lessons at the Y, strumming his guitar or nose deep in a history or science fiction book while listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Dr. Beth Skovron, Doctor of Dental Science, Owner and Founder
Dr. Beth Skovron’s voice is warm and soft-spoken. It sounds more akin to that of meditation instructor than to the cool stoicism we expect from most doctors. But the tranquility of her voice shouldn’t be misleading: she is deeply passionate about dentistry. Along with a compassionate heart is an ever-inquisitive, scientific mind. As a result, Dr. Beth is able to bring a comprehensive and holistic view to her patients’ needs, informed by expertise amassed over 19 years of clinical practice and 2,500 hours of ongoing continuing education courses and trainings. Dr. Beth is a 1992 graduate of State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. She received further professional training from the Pankey Institute and the Scottsdale Institute for Advanced Dentistry. She is an active member of the American Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and local chapters of the Implant Study Club. Originally hailing from Southern California, Dr. Beth is also a devout yogini, avid traveler and skilled tennis player. She resides in Bucks County with her son.
Rebecca Antsis is a Pennsylvania-based writer, multimedia performer and editorial associate for Natural Awakenings BuxMont. Connect at RebeccaAntsis@gmail.com.