Discussing the elephants in the room: Artist shares vision for dental ward

Photo of Royal London Hospital courtesy Creativereview.co.uk/
Artist and Illustrator Stephen Smith

The artist’s challenges: Create artwork that appeals to young patients of varying ages in a location where there exists not one single large wall on which to hang your work for display. Sidenote, must be easy to sanitize.

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

Illustrator Stephen Smith, of the Neasden Control Centre, explained to creativereview.co.uk how those  parameters inspired his designs at Whitechapel Dental Ward: “It needed to be cool but not too scary.” As for the layout of the Royal London Hospital’s ward, busy with patients and furniture: “It was a major challenge to design and ensure that there was a good flow of work throughout the space and that not one single area was dominating another,” he added.

Photographs by Owen Richards.

Photographs by Owen Richards.

All the artwork was carefully measured to fit between dental practice furnishings, along corridors, around pillars.

Which explains toucans perched above operatory chairs and cheetahs guarding nitrile glove dispensers. As for the aforementioned elephants, intermingled with skyscrapers and skateboarders, not to mention foxes, giraffes and hound dogs, the artist said he attempted to blend the patients’  familiar city vision with an imaginative world of the wild.

Smith told Creative Review: “It was important that being in an

Photographs by Owen Richards.

Photographs by Owen Richards.

inner city hospital the artwork responded to the nature of the site in Whitechapel – and reflected the urban nature of many of the kids who use it. I wanted to create an environment that responded to this, but also build a world that was wild and full of animals and forests.”

After being approached last year by Vital Arts, the arts organisation for Barts Health NHS Trust, Smith spent time with head doctors and staff on the ward as part of his creative process. His commission (in vinyl, in keeping with the cleanliness factor) was recently unveiled.

The end result, according to Vital Arts’ Mark Sinclair:

“Much of the artwork is used in locations where Smith’s illustrations can be viewed from the dental chair – to help relax patients while creating a warm and stimulating environment for the dental staff.”

For the full story and additional images of Stephen Smith’s art at Whitechapel, visit: http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2015/august/neasden-control-centre-vital-arts-royal-london


Photographs by Owen Richards

‘Hulk’ shares strong bond with Benco Dental


“Many of you know him as ‘The Hulk’,” said Benco Dental Managing Director Rick Cohen, introducing CenterPoint Distribution Center Material Handler Mike Halchak at the company’s home office in Pittston, Pennsylvania,  Wednesday, August 19.

Rick, along with Lou Mangino, VP Operations for the nation’s largest privately owned dental distribution company,  and George Rable, VP Culture and People, shared a few memorable stories of Mike’s time at Benco with the standing room only crowd of associates and presented Mike with a gift and cake in appreciation of his 30 years of service to the company.

Mike’s Marine Corp discipline, and generous donations to Toys For Tots every year, “undisclosed, but a lot,” said Rick, stood out during Mike’s Benco tenure. Rick also mentioned the nickname, which he traced to a friendly disagreement in the 1990s between Mike and another warehouse associate regarding professional wrestling. (Mike thinks it’s fake.)


Benco Dental Managing Director Rick Cohen turns the program over to Mike Halchek, who is retiring after 30 years with the dental distribution company. From a handwritten speech that had been folded in his back pocket, Mike offered humorous sentiments.

From a handwritten speech that had been folded in his back pocket, Mike offered humorous sentiments about his hiring manager Bob Stabinski, Benco Chairman Larry Cohen, and all the support he has received since 1985, which he likened to a Marine slogan.
“I was in the service for awhile. The Marines always yell ‘Gung Ho,’ which means work together. If you don’t work together as a team you will not survive as an individual. I tell a lot of people to come to Benco. Come to work every day and you will be here a long time,” said Mike.

The colleagues who lined up Wednesday (and in an impromptu parade around the perimeter of the building on his final day, Friday) to wish him well in his retirement spoke volumes.

“We’ll miss you in the warehouse. You’re someone who we always knew we could count on,” added Rick.


A Scout is clean (especially his teeth)

Boy Scout merit badge in dentistry.
Boy Scouts from four different troops in North Carolina spent a recent morning learning to read dental x-rays, identify tooth decay, make molds of their teeth and more.

According to a story by Dustin George of Kinston.com, Dr. Will Harvey invited 13 scouts to his practice to help them earn their Dentistry Merit Badge.

“When I was a scout I don’t think the dental badge was even a thing,” said Dr. Will Harvey, dentist and owner of the practice. “I saw the badge as an opportunity to give back to the scouts. This gets these guys one step closer to their Eagle (Scout rank).”

Harvey, a former Eagle Scout himself, donated his office and all of the materials needed for the scouts to complete the requirements for the badge on Friday.


If you can dream it, submit it. Incisal Edge contest awaits.


If you’re a nontraditional designer with unique perspectives, a solution-driven architect with imagination to spare, or a dental professional with a passion for improving the patient experience, then Clarion Financial offers 5,000 reasons why you should keep reading.

Dentists, dental students, architects and interior designers might be a few minutes away from earning a $5,000 prize and appearing in a national magazine as part of the 3nd annual Incisal Edge Design Contest sponsored by Clarion Financial.

Incisal Edge, the leading lifestyle magazine for dental professionals, offers a Design of the Future category that invites contest participants to create an imaginative setting for the patients and practitioners of tomorrow. Improvement, innovation and inspiration with no boundaries – if you can dream it, submit it. The reward: a $5,000 grand prize. In three additional categories (specialty, new construction and repurposed practice), the contest will recognize dentists who achieved new heights of creativity and functionality when designing their current office. Winners in each category will receive a professional photo session for their practice and a profile in the Incisal Edge Winter issue.


New for 2016: An entry point (shown) designed for ease of use, where previous year’s winners provide motivation, and detailed instructions offer helpful tips – IEDesignContest.com

New for 2016: An entry point designed for ease of use, where previous year’s winners provide motivation, and detailed instructions offer helpful tips – IEDesignContest.com . A juried panel from the dental and architectural worlds will select America’s most striking practices. Entries will be accepted for existing practices through September 4 and for the Design of the Future category through September 25, 2015.

Prior to final awards, three semifinalists selected by judges in the Design of the Future category will be paired with a team of design professionals who will help give visual life to their ideas.

Published by Benco Dental, the largest privately-owned dental distribution company in the United States, Incisal Edge celebrates dentists’ achievements both inside the operatory and during their hard-earned downtime. To celebrate excellence in dental design, the magazine will profile the winners of its 3rd annual design competition in the magazine’s winter edition. For additional information regarding Incisal Edge magazine, visit: http://www.benco.com/incisaledge/

Entrants are directed to The Incisal Edge Clarion Design Contest Entry Form at: http://www.iedesigncontest.com/entryforms/


Trend gives Senior Week in Mexico a whole new (unfortunate) meaning.

Copyright: Andrea Izzotti

What would prompt a 56-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native to drive 3,700 miles for a dental visit?

According to an Associated Press story by Astrid Galvan, Mark Bolzern had 62,000 reasons:

“For Bolzern, seeing a dentist in Los Algodones meant a savings of up to $62,000. He was told the extensive dental work he needed — his teeth needed to be raised and he needed a crown on every molar — would cost $65,000 at a private dentist. He looked for lower rates, finding a dental school where the work was less expensive because it was performed by students. But it still cost $35,000. He paid $3,000 in (Los Algodones,) Mexico and has been back several times. …
About 60 percent of Americans have dental insurance coverage, the highest it has been in decades. But even so, the nation’s older population has been largely left behind. Nearly 70 percent of seniors are not insured, according to a study compiled by Oral Health America. A major reason is because dental care is not covered by Medicare and many employers no longer offer post-retirement health benefits. What’s more, the Affordable Care Act allows enrollees to get dental coverage only if they purchase general health coverage first, which many seniors don’t need. At the same time, seniors often require the most costly dental work, like crowns, implants and false teeth.”

Learn why Dr. Matthew Messina, a practicing dentist and consumer adviser on behalf of the American Dental Association, suggests Americans who visit dentists in foreign countries should do a lot of research before they go: