Dr. Daniel Sluyk has always viewed dentistry as an art form, even though he hadn’t always contemplated following in his father’s footsteps.
The Scottsdale man’s father, Dr. Steve Sluyk, was a dentist and endodontist, he said, “but I never really thought I would become a dentist.
“I always loved the medical field and wanted to do something to help people and I also really loved the artistic side of things. I play instruments and like to draw.”
But, he explained, “as I explored the different fields of medicine, I realized dentistry has the artistic component, the relationships you get to have with patients, and then that scientific kind of medical side to it. So, it drew me in.”
Though Sluyk sees stained, crooked and plaque-covered teeth as his canvas, he quickly learned that his patients often came into his office feeling anxious and reluctant to flash a toothy grin.
So, when he opened his first practice in May 2016, he was determined to address that stigma.
He began by gutting the Tuscan interior of his building – just off the TPC Scottsdale golf course near the Loop 101 and Bell Road – and giving the space a sleek, bright and modern look.
He also upgraded his equipment with the latest gadgets needed to make smiles glimmer and installed televisions on the ceilings that pair with noise-canceling headphones.
He earned his certification to administer anesthetics, nitrous oxide, and laughing gas, and began adding fun days to his calendar, such as “Country Music Thursdays. “
But his patients still couldn’t seem to get past their phobia about dentist offices.
About three years ago, Sluyk and his father-in-law, Kevin Dale Nutt, came up with another idea to calm patients' nerves.
Since Nutt is a contemporary artist who creates paintings of buildings and landscapes and calming abstract paintings and multi-textured two-dimensional works, they decided to showcase his work in Sluyk’s waiting room and teeth-cleaning rooms.
“What we noticed was as people were sitting there for an hour looking around at what was around them made a big impact and there were certain pieces that just really spoke to people,” Sluyk said.
“So we got together and he custom designed pieces to create a (calming) feeling and a mood for the patient and it's been amazing to see how it impacts the experience.”
Some patients felt so moved that they left the office with new artwork. Because of this, the artwork is frequently swapped out.
Some pieces currently on display have become favorites of his 1,500 patients – like an abstract painting of a champion diver plummeting into a pool while performing a dive that scored 9.5.
With customers calmed by thought-provoking and soothing artworks, Sluyk, an alum of Desert Mountain High School, can sculpt patients’ smiles into what he considers to masterpieces.
He offers porcelain crown veneers and Invisalign clear aligners in addition to typical teeth whitening.
He also employs his father to do root canals throughout each week.
Though Sluyk’s goal is to give patients a shimmering smile that beams from year to ear, his biggest goal remains to eliminate the stigma associated with a trip to the dentist.
“My focus is always just to give the absolute best customer service experience and change that stigma of the dental office being a scary place,” he said. “I want people to feel comfortable and then I also want to do the highest quality dentistry possible and transform lives by my giving people new confident smiles.”
Info: Sluyk Family Dentistry is located at 8591 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale, 480- 367-0300, Scottsdaleazdentist.com