By Karen Billing
Not many dental offices can boast having superhero doctors and an evil villain out to rot teeth, not to mention video games, photo booths and a toy store in a super-fun lobby, which also includes TVs planted into the ceiling above treatment chairs and even a Starbucks coffee nook for waiting parents. This is a place where children actually are excited to go and, as of January, the new Carmel Valley location of The Super Dentists on El Camino Real is now accepting super-patients for pediatric dentistry for kids, and teens and orthodontics for children, teens and adults.
“This is the only practice we know of where kids are the number one referral source, that’s unheard of,” said Dr. Kami Hoss, also known as Dr. Have One Super Smile. “We want to create a whole experience for the kids, where they completely forget that they’re going to see the dentist.”
Word on how fun a visit is to The Super Dentists spreads not only through their child patients, but through their more than 30,000 school education visits throughout the county on dental health and hygiene, a show on the COX TV channel and three DVDs, including their latest, a 3D movie.
It’s not uncommon for friends or siblings to want to tag along to go the Super Dentist office or to arrive early for an appointment to take advantage of all there is to offer.
Hoss started The Super Dentists 17 years ago with his wife, Dr. Nazli Keri, aka The Tooth Keri.
The superhero narrative came up one late night at Kinko’s when the couple was trying to come up with ways to brand their office. Figuring everyone likes a superhero, they ran with the idea and invented a story about a pair of outer-space dentists who met in dental school and developed the powers of x-ray vision and a magical wand to make braces invisible. Their nemesis, Cavitar, is a dental school dropout who owns a candy store and drives an ice cream truck with the evil plan to make sugar rule the world. He has a little bear sidekick named Molar.
Their first office was in Chula Vista and they have followed up with practices in Eastlake and Oceanside.
“Carmel Valley has been my dream location to open for several years,” Hoss said. “It’s a wonderful community, very family and kid-oriented with a lot of young families, great schools and after-school programs. This is my most exciting office to put together to date.”
For all the reasons that make it a perfect place for The Super Dentists, Hoss also hopes to move to Carmel Valley from Eastlake with his wife and 10-month-old baby.
“We love it here,” Hoss said.
Hoss purchased the entire building on El Camino Real in February of last year, changing the name to Ryan Plaza. The 6,000-square-foot-facility on the second floor of the building is the largest Super Dentists office to date.
Inside, the office is decked out like a theme park, with Super Dentists’ characters spread throughout.
In the center of the lobby is a large polka dot toadstool that serves as a camera for kids to pose for photos with different Super Dentists’ characters while sitting on a stool made to look like a tree stump.
Inside Cavitar’s Corner, kids can play video games, play dress-up with a stocked costume closet, and visit Cavitar in his ice cream truck. The truck has a working weigh station where kids can turn in candy for donation in exchange for Kids Club points.
Every Super Dentists patient instantly becomes a member of the Kids Club and they can rack up points to use to buy toys from the toy shop, be entered in a monthly drawing for Apple products or earn enough to have a Super Dentists-hosted, all-inclusive birthday party. Just some of the ways to gather points include having a great check up with no cavities; being on time for an appointment; losing a baby tooth; writing a letter to the Tooth Keri; brushing after signing in for an appointment; or participating in community service.
Parents get special treatment too — there is a quiet upstairs adults-only lounge where parents can get work done or relax, with a screen to monitor children playing downstairs. There is also a Starbucks Coffee machine to whip up much-needed lattes.
“The parents love this machine, it’s like a prized possession in the mornings,” said Jordan Wendelken, Super Dentists’ creative director.
The treatment rooms are just as fun as the lobby, with each chair outfitted with headphones for kids to wear to watch shows on the screen in front or over the chairs.
The orthodontic offices are made to look like an airport for spaceships — and, naturally, all of the rocketship characters have braces.
“I have a lot of enthusiasm for this practice because we’re onto something amazing,” said Hoss. “It’s so exciting to see that reaction from parents and children when they first walk into the office. We take a completely different approach to dentistry and our care is really special and unique.”
A big grand opening event will be held on Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The owners of The Super Dentists have paired with San Diego Seasonal Fairs to present the Carmel Valley San Diego Spring Fair in the parking lot, an event that will feature gaming trucks, arts and crafts, local produce, a variety of local businesses and a local elementary and middle school talent show.
Schools are asked to host their own talent shows and have students vote on a winner to represent them in the March 8 show. A panel of celebrity judges will narrow it down to the top three at the show and then the top performers will be taken to a public vote. The winning school at the contest will receive a generous $10,000 donation from The Super Dentists. The winning performer will also get an opportunity to be the opening act for a summer concert and appear in Seventeen Magazine. The runner-up will win the opportunity to have the summer concert at their school.
“We are big on education and giving back to the community,” Hoss said.
For more information on the school talent show, visit sandiegoseasonalfairs/carmel-valley.
The Super Dentists is located at 11943 El Camino Real, suite 200, San Diego, 92130. For more information, visit www.thesuperdentists.com or call (858) DENTIST (336-8478). For a special coupon offer from this newspaper, visit Super-Dentist.com/Times