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Global News Interview: Emergency Dentist During Covid 19 Outbreak

Dr archer interviewed on Global News

On Wednesday, March 25th Rachael D’Amore telephoned Dr Natalie Archer DDS to ask about dentistry in the Age of Coronovirus. Like so many other Canadians, dentists have also had to adjust to a new business reality amid the pandemic that has now closed most dental clinics in Ontario.  Yet we search for ways to be productive and helpful.

“I think dentists, in general, feel helpless and frustrated,” Dr Archer is quoted saying in the article, and she continued. “We are health professionals too. We’re educated. We’re willing to help but, in a lot of ways, our hands are tied right now.” Dentists have a unique perspective on social distancing in the workplace; its more difficult here. Dentists and hygienists sit right beside patients; new distancing protocols amid the pandemic are particularly difficult to work around.

What exactly does ‘Emergency Care Only’ mean for dentists and patients?

Provinces and local governments have imposed increasingly tight controls to try and curtail the spread of COVID-19 and they ultimately encourage as many people as possible to stay home. Quebec and Ontario, for example, have ordered all non-essential businesses to close, but the rule vary and are slightly different in each jurisdiction.

Global News update

Those deemed essential are somewhat obvious; health-care workers, first responders, suppliers of critical goods like food and medicine, and utility workers are encouraged to go to work and help save lives and keep society functioning. So where does that leave dentists?

Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have ordered a pause on “non-essential” dental services like teeth cleaning, teeth whitening obviously and other cosmetic procedures. Only emergency care, like facial trauma or pain that can’t be managed with antibiotics or over-the-counter medications, can be performed.  Dentists in other provinces, like Manitoba, have taken it upon themselves to put similar measures in place for their residents. But even then, there are risks.

“We have to set a high bar for emergencies in dentistry because it’s such high risk. We’re one of the most at risk in this,” said Dr Natalie Archer. “We’re still learning about the virus, but we definitely know it’s spread through things like mucus and saliva. These are things that dentists are intimately connected with… There’s no social distancing when it comes to treating patients in dentistry.”

The respiratory virus is spread mainly from person-to-person, either by close contact or “respiratory droplets.” So when an infected person coughs or sneezes, if the resulting droplets end up in the mouths or noses of people nearby, either by inhalation or contact, those people can become infected.

In health care, increased risk comes with increased protocols. In Ontario for example the Royal College of Dental Surgeons (RCDSO) has clamped down on what constitutes an emergency dental situation and has issued directives on screening procedures as well as which tools to use when.  They stipulate that only emergency care, like facial trauma or pain that can’t be managed with antibiotics or over-the-counter medications, can be performed.

What is an essential service?

Rachael D’Amore’s reporting also shared some interesting data.  Between 2017 and 2018 there were over 93,000 dental visits at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry, which allow students to treat patients. Of those, 4,000 were considered emergency dental visits.  So based on that ratio you can see there’s a demand that will not be abated by stay-at-home social directives. Some dentistry is essential.

Readers should know that infection control in dentistry is already at a high professional standard. Sterilizers are tested every day, there are chemical indicators that show that everything’s been sterilized properly, there’s tracking of every instrument, everyone’s wearing the proper PPE (personal protective equipment),” he said.  Infection control protocol standards for dentistry are incredibly high. But that efficiency doesn’t negate the fact that dentists need to be in close contact with patients to do the job.

infection control - autoclave

Sterilization of equipment happens routinely in autoclave at Archer Dental Rosedale

“The primary thing is to keep people safe and healthy but you also really have to keep them out of hospitals unless they absolutely need to be there — the system’s already facing a burden.”

Archer Dental Emergency Dental Service in Toronto

Archer Dental patients can set up phone-call screening and counseling or FaceTime a dentist for certain inquiries. We offer emergency dental services such as it abides with RCDSO’s new required safety practices, but we can also provide some level of comfort to patients locked away at home who need advice, said Archer.  Patients are encouraged to call their office and their calls will be received and scheduled accordingly.

“I think it makes patients realize what is a real emergency right now,” Dr Archer said. “As a dentist, we have to assume that everybody we come into contact with has COVID-19. So that’s the level of care we take when we decide what’s an emergency.”

The article ends with Dr Archer’s quote; “There’s a very good chance that you’re not going to get into a dental office for a check-up for quite some time, so this is the best opportunity to take care of ourselves from a preventative side,” Natalie said. “People always tell me they don’t have time to floss. Guess what? You’ve got time. You’ve got more time than you know what to do with. Now’s the time to floss.”

Infection Control Protocol at Archer Dental Offices

Infection Prevention and Control at Archer Dental - Rosedale

Infection prevention and control is an important part of safe patient care. Concerns about the possible spread of blood-borne diseases, and the impact of emerging, highly contagious respiratory and other illnesses, require practitioners to establish, evaluate, continually update and monitor their infection prevention and control strategies and protocols.

sterilization of surgical equipment in dental office - infection preventionAt Archer Dental, each operatory and all applicable equipment, dental instruments, and all areas touched by either patient or dentist or hygienist are cleaned and disinfected and sterilized after each use. Semi-critical and critical instruments, those that come into contact with mucous membrane or used to penetrate soft tissue or bone are reprocessed and sterilized following each dental procedure.

Sterilization at all three Archer dental locations is achieved by steam under pressure (autoclaving). In the photo to the right, you can see the dental assistant labeling the instrument package for sterilization with the date, time and load number which is used for quality control and documentation. This information must be collected according to the infection prevention and control standards of practice.

Staff at Archer Dental adhere to and comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures. Staff understand that each patient expects the highest quality of safe dental care and that is what Archer Dental provides. We are veterans at safeguarding against the spread of harmful viruses and bacteria. We’ve been very active on this front for many years, long before the current health crises griped the planet (Coronavirus #Covid_19) and put new emphasis on the subject.

Dr Natalie Archer is a recognized expert in the field of infection control in dentistry. She spoke on Global News in 2017 about infection control in Ontario dental offices.  Dr. Archer, along with Joan Hutchings, RN, CPN, BA, MSc, MPA, have taken the lead in creating a program to educate other dentists called SAFE Dentistry Inc.

SAFE Dentistry, infection control in dental officeSAFE Dentistry delivers a customized infection prevention and control audit program that evaluates and assists office staff to implement best practices. The four-pronged program reduces the risk of transmission of infection and disease for both patients and staff.

SAFE Dentistry’s program bring together fifty years combined clinical experience. It was in part developed by our own highly respected, successful dentist Dr. Natalie Archer, alongside the extensive knowledge and experience in infection prevention and control of an epidemiologist, surgical suite specialist, Joan Hutchings. Together they’ve created a province-wide service that arranges infection control consultants to assist Ontario dentists and staff working in dental clinics. The infection prevention and control specialist educate, advise and provide hands-on instruction assisting staff to achieve and adhere to recommended standards of practice, a requirement to provide safe services to the public as described by Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, Public Health Ontario and Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.


Patients can help SAFE Dentistry by becoming expert hand washers.

Patient Care at Archer Dental

Our staff use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect patients and themselves. Examples of PPE are masks, gloves, eye wear, gowns and drapes.

dental surgery at Archer Dental

Patients and staff are provided with protective eye wear to shield their eyes from spatter and debris created during dental procedures. Protective eye wear is worn by patients throughout the dental appointment, then cleaned and disinfected after each use by dental assistants at each location.

Gloves are always worn by our staff when performing dental care. Depending on the type of procedure, our practitioners will choose between procedure gloves or sterile gloves. In most cases you will see the staff member put on gloves taken from a box. These gloves are disposable and are discarded immediately after each use. In addition, before gloves are put on, staff members will clean their hands by either washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer. Sterile gloves are used only for specific surgical procedures. Sterile gloves come packaged individually and our policy requires staff wear these gloves to maintain sterility.

Protective draping
Get ready to wear a bib. Here at Archer Dental, single-use bibs or drapes are always deployed to protect patients’ clothing and reduce their exposure to spatter or any moisture created during dental procedures. Single-use strips are used to secure bibs and drapes, in place of reusable daisy chains.  We all suit-up in single use gowns during any form of dental surgery at Archer Dental

We use rubber dams and high-volume suction
Archer dental goes to great lengths to minimize the spread of droplets, spatter and spray created during dental procedures. Accordingly, we use a rubber dam whenever feasible, and high-volume suction is used whenever the creation of droplets, spatter and spray, if possible.

Waiting Room Etiquette 
SAFE Dentistry, infection control in dental officeIn our waiting rooms you will find Kleenex, hand sanitizer, masks, signage and a waste basket.
Please note our sign – If you do not feel well on the day of your appointment, report your condition to the secretary (please contact the office and have your appointment rescheduled). If you have a cough or runny nose, please help yourself to a Kleenex and dispose of it immediately in the waste basket.
Please cleanse you hands with hand sanitizer, using two full pumps, spreading the liquid over all surfaces of the hands by rubbing hands together for 15 seconds or until hands are dry. If you cough, please cough into a Kleenex and discard directly into waste basket, repeat hand hygiene. If you continue to cough, please put on a mask to reduce the possible spread of germs to others in the room.

Standards Achievement Facility Evaluation

We invite dentists and staff to take our mini survey to quickly determine how knowledgeable you are of the recommended infection prevention and control standards.

Dental Attendant, AI Chatbot for Dentists’ Websites

Dentist conversation chat bot for increased efficiency

Say hello to our little friend.

Archer Dental has a good reputation for being innovative, and that includes our work improving dental office administration. We’re known around Toronto for being the first to test new equipment and try new products, integrating what works long before it becomes common in the marketplace. We had GLO Teeth Whitening before it was even a thing, and Myobrace too. Such is the case with our new chat bot, Dental Attendant. It is AI software for dental offices and we’ve tailor-made this solution to suit our own needs and make it easier for the public to access our information and book appointments at all three of our locations.

Dental Attendant is more than a chat bot. It does more than simply sit on our website, twenty-four hours a day, on the bottom corner of every page.  It’s unobtrusive, yet there when you need it, and it chats with patients to answer frequently asked questions, reduce phone traffic, and streamline dental appointment scheduling. It helps organize patient flow and does follow-ups after appointments with emails and text. It encourages patients to share their positive experiences in Google Reviews and on their social media channels. Dental Attendant improves service at all three of our clinics every single day, even when the lights are off and we’re home and asleep.

Ai chatbot, dental office software, Archer Dental has developed its own chat bot technology.

Archer Dental has developed its own chat bot. Dental Attendant appears on every page of the website!

What is a chat bot? A chat bot is a piece of software that conducts a conversation via audio or text. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner. They’re not quite there yet however, and at the time of this writing there is no chat bot capable of passing the Turing test, which is the test for true artificial intelligence. The Turing Test is a famous method of inquiry in artificial intelligence (AI) for determining whether or not a computer is capable of thinking like a human being. The test is named after Alan Turing, an English computer scientist, cryptanalyst, mathematician and theoretical biologist.

Archer Dental Adapts Chat bot Technology for Dentists

Chat bot technology is steadily evolving and getting better everyday. Web-enabled conversation bots are becoming ubiquitous inside industries where there’s a lot of frequently asked questions. These little helpers will be everywhere online soon, and that’s because they check so many boxes; they start relationships and build trust every single time they are used.

In general, there are three reasons why businesses choose chat bots. First, there is the hope to reduce customer-service costs by replacing human agents with conversation bots that dispense answers to frequently asked questions (and dentistry has a lot of FAQs).  Second, the success of conversational-based systems like WeChat have advanced the notion of chat bots as an interaction channel to supplement existing mobile web and mobile apps. Lastly, the popularity of voice-based intelligent assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Home have pushed many businesses to try and copy this service on a smaller scale. We tried it because we liked the idea of having someone on the site available to answer questions and take bookings during the off-hours.

Dental Attendant welcomes everyone to our dental practice. By offering useful information this AI powered chat bot vastly improves the odds that website traffic will ‘convert’ and a higher percentage of users will book introductory visits. You can see below in this real-life glimpse into our Google Analytics just how consumers behave on site, and how they need multiple touch points before actually committing to appointments.

dental attendant flow chart

Dental Attendant streamlines these interactions between people and Archer Dental services.  We believe the software enhances and improves customer experience by virtue of instant gratification to information requests and instant appointment bookings.  We know people like using Dental Attendant by how many more positive reviews we’ve enjoyed since adopting the system.

phone smart AI technology for dentistsOur patients find the program very easy to use, and many younger customers prefer using chat bots over calling representatives on the phone because it tends to be faster and is less invasive.  Dental Attendant offers users the ability to switch to messenger apps as there are already billions of phones around the world using these and many of our patients are already subscribed.

Chat bots are the future of customer experience and have the power to replace search windows in the not-so-distant future. The key to making them helpful is to program a myriad of different responses for all imaginable requests and keep an eye on the conversations to see what you’ve missed.  We have noticed there is a lot of queries for prices and for staff members hours and so we have added that information accordingly.

Dental Attendant is a virtual staff member and the center of a smart technology, designed to accelerate appointment-booking and encourage more and better reviews and provide insightful customer relationship management. Dental Attendant never sleeps and works around the clock to make our dental clinic smarter and more interactive.

New Photos of Archer Dental Baby Point

Archer Dental Baby Point reception area

Here’s a fresh look at Archer Dental Baby Point at the beginning of the year 2020.

reception area at dental office

Archer Dental Baby Point has been professionally decorated.  The colour of the walls, window shades and trim, each piece of furniture, plant and book has been specially selected to present a stylish European theme that reflects comfort and competence.

stylish furniture for dental office

gorgeous furniture inside dental office

beautiful office furniture of Archer Dental Baby Point reception area

front reception area of Archer Dental Baby Point
Here is a glimpse at the staff lounge in the basement.
staff lounge, lunch kitchenette, relaxation area for dentists, dental office, Baby Point, Archer
staff lounge at Archer Dental Baby Point dental office amenities
Here’s the new administrator’s office, also in the basement.
administrators' offices in basement of Archer Dental Baby Point

Here is a look at the operatory and the comfortable dentist chair that awaits patients.
comfortable dental chairs, leather cushions in dental office operatory at Archer Dental Baby Point
bathroom for patients at Archer Dental baby point

The smile mosaic tile is our salute to your lifestyle.
front entrance mosaic tile spelling out the word smile at dental office

Hygiene Therapy Goes Well Beyond Teeth Cleaning

dental hygienist teeth Xrays service cleaning gums

Most commonly known as dental hygienists, and sometimes referred to as oral hygienists, these same health care professionals are recognized as Hygiene Therapists at Archer Dental.  That’s because our preventative health care treatment program is so much more than just a teeth cleaning service.

Hygiene Therapy Treatment is a sophisticated oral health regime.  Archer Dental’s hygiene therapists are skilled clinicians who clean teeth to treat and prevent periodontal (gum) disease by scaling and polishing teeth, applying prophylactic and antimicrobial materials. They take dental radiographs (X-rays) and undertake monitoring and screening procedures by maintaining these historical records.  These service workers use a number of different high technology tools such as X-ray equipment and ultrasonic scalers and other power tools such as drills and polishers, alongside computers and printers to record and store data.
archer dental hygiene therapy Toronto

Archer Dental’s Hygiene Therapy Team offers a Complete Oral Health Exam

At Archer Dental we see the exercise as being similar to massage therapy, or physiotherapy, and we believe it’s just as important to our patients’ overall health and wellness.  This is a preventive approach to oral health care because having clean teeth in a healthy mouth also works to prevent disease.   A typical hygiene therapy treatment takes about forty minutes but can expand in length and intensity as the situation requires.  Consumers who select Archer Dental’s Hygiene Therapy benefit from the close proximity of experienced dentists who are able to give opinions and suggest additional treatments for issues detected in the oral health exam that generally follows the cleaning.

Our hygiene therapists educate patients, check for oral cancers, and prevent cavities by placing sealants on molars and other vulnerable surfaces.  Our professionals clean your teeth with both hand scalers and power tools but also they examine your gums and assess each patient’s overall healthcare.  There’s definitely a lot of science and real life dental experience leveraged here to help patients achieve optimal oral health.

What happens during Hygiene Therapy Treatment at Archer Dental?

dental hygienists tools at Archer Dental Little Italy in Toronto

A complete oral health exam, Archer Dental pampers patients in our spa-like dental clinics.  They’re treated to hot towels and lavender pillows. They’re encouraged to relax and watch Netflix or listen to the music in the air, or on our Beats headphones, or they can bring their own device. While the patient relaxes, our professionals begin the Hygiene Therapy Treatment with their own special devices. To the left is a picture of the hand scalers at Archer Dental Little Italy.

The most significant activity and major role of a hygienist therapist at Archer Dental is to perform teeth cleaning which can include periodontal charting, periodontal debridement (scaling and root planing), prophylaxis (preventing disease) or periodontal maintenance procedures for patients.  Using therapeutic methods, staff members work diligently to help patients prevent and control oral disease while also providing tailored treatment plans that emphasize the importance of behavioral changes.

Archer Dental’s hygiene therapists also assess each patient’s current oral health condition in order to offer patient-specific preventive and educational services.  Unrepentant teeth grinders get night guards, and smokers get cancer screenings and so forth as staff works to promote and maintain good oral health care in all patients regardless of age and lifestyle.


teeth cleaning in Toronto at Archer Dental Little ItalyCancer Screening:  At Archer Dental our well trained hygiene therapists are a primary resource for oral cancer screening and prevention.

X-rays:  Almost All Archer Dental hygiene therapists are licensed to administer local anesthesia and perform dental radiography. In addition to these procedures, our hygienists may also take intraoral radiographs.

Dental impressions: Hygiene therapists work together with dentists and other specialists at Archer Dental . They can take impressions for night guards and sports guards and custom teeth whitening trays.  Our Hygiene Therapists work inter-professionally to provide holistic oral health care in the best interest of their patient.

Hygiene Therapists also offer expertise in their field and can provide a dental hygiene diagnosis, which is an integral component of the comprehensive dental diagnosis.  Our team of hygienists work closely with our specialists not only to keep your teeth clean but to ensure your gums are healthy too. We will tailor a customized hygiene treatment plan designed to help you treat oral conditions or maintain a healthy smile. We take a preventative approach by thoroughly examining your teeth and gums to detect oral diseases and conditions early. This allows them to be treated or corrected with minimal treatment and discomfort.

How to Become a Hygiene Therapist ?

dental hygienist takes dental impressions after teeth cleaning Oral health care professionals who aspire to become expert hygiene therapists must first become professional dental assistants who are registered, certified and licensed.  Prior to completing clinical and written board examinations, registered dental hygienists must have either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from an accredited college or university.  Here in Canada there are plenty of education options. There are private college programs at The Canadian Academy of Dental Health and Community Sciences, and in Quebec at Collège Boréal, and also at the Southern Ontario Dental College which offers accredited training.  There are public college diploma courses for dental hygiene including diploma programs offered at Algonquin College and Fanshawe College. University level training, a bachelor of dental hygiene, is offered at Dalhousie University and the University of British Columbia. The bachelor degrees allow graduates to teach dental hygiene.

Archer Dental team members originate from all over the world. They were hired here because they’re have years of experience but their educations are as varied as their countries of origin. In just about every case however their schooling focused on oral and clinical science with an emphasis on health promotion and preventive, motivational and communication strategies.  Now we all work together to provide high quality dental care for the residents of Toronto.

Vesna Asanovic’s Wall Mural at Archer Dental Baby Point

Toronto artists, Vesna Asanovic and Vivian Rosas

 Toronto mural artist Vesna Asanovic and illustrator, Vivian Rosas 387 Jane St, Toronto 

by Thomas Care, (a neighbour, and resident of Baby Point)

It was a beautiful autumn morning in Bloor West Village, crisp and cool, when I first met Toronto artists, Vesna Asanovic and illustrator, Vivian Rosas.  I was out enjoying the season.  It’s enchanting to see how the maple trees, oaks and ash tree leaves turn chimney red and Halloween orange and make huge drifts on otherwise well-manicured lawns.  Children play on these leaf coated lawns, and dog walkers lead packs of poodles in wool sweaters along safe sidewalks.  The strong smell of coffee and fresh croissants emanates from the local patisserie and fills the morning air on all three corners of Baby Point.

Mornings are quiet and peaceful in this small residential enclave at the top corner of the village, Jane and Annette, but later today it will be busy along this commercial strip. Autumn is our tourist season. This is when visitors come to our fair haven to watch the spawning salmon run the impossible hurdles that are the concrete breaks along the Humber River.  And when the people are done snapping their selfies and done making Instagram memories there, they’ll stop off at The Old Mill for a warm drink by the old stone fireplace. Inside they’ll listen to the soft sounds of classic Jazz, the perfect music for the season.  Autumn truly is a wonderful and magical time of year here in what is known as York, one of Toronto’s original settlements.Mural painters, graffiti artists at work in Toronto,

It was into this neighbourhood, immediately south of the Three Corners (Baby Point, Jane, and Annette) that Archer Dental Baby Point appeared in September 2019. The company remodeled an old building and permanently filled a cavity in our historic streetscape.  They improved the space, inside and out, and that includes the southern exterior wall of the building which runs along an narrow alley that links Jane St. to the rear alley behind the old two-story brick homes of Armadale Ave.  When Archer Dental bought the two story brick building at 387 Jane St., they also became the caretakers of this tall south-facing wall.

Toronto Mural Artist, Vesna Asanovic latex paints artwork in Toronto alley

Meet Toronto Mural Artist, Vesna Asanovic

I had the pleasuring of meeting and interviewing and photographing Vesna Asanovic and her fellow illustrator, Vivian Rosas. I talked to them and took these pictures as they painted the alley mural at 387 Jane St. for Archer Dental.  When I first arrived on the scene, Vesna, was hard at work, plotting out the exact location and overall dimensions of the large mural.

Although the sun was up and splashing heat across the rooftops of the surrounding buildings, the alley was still in shadow and rather cool.  Myself, as someone who makes a living regularly working outside, I empathized with her present situation.  Fortunately, the next couple of days were going to be sunny so the work would be done with a minimum of discomfort in regards to temperature. Another interesting observation I had was the course texture of the brick required more paint and more effort than you might think by simply looking at these pictures; every brick needed a brisk and sustained brushing to coat all the angles and ridges. Graffiti artist girls paint alley in Toronto area Baby Point - Archer Dental, 387 Jane Street

When Vesna was contacted about creating the Archer Dental mural, Dr Archer spoke to her about the vision she wanted to create. She wanted a piece for the community, something that was warm and welcoming, and so Vesna decided to create an image that illustrated the spirit of wellness and nature. Flowers and abstract plants surrounding images of people stretching and smiling are positive and healthy.  The palette is borrowed inspiration from Futurestudio, who did an incredibly job designing the interior of Archer Dental’s new space. The salmon and sage mellow out the punchy orange while keeping the palette cohesive with the interior.

Vesna Asanovic is an artist and illustrator living in Toronto who feels privileged to have worked with many clients on lots of different types of projects.  Last year she worked with Macmillan Press and illustrated her first book ‘Teen Trailblazers’ by Jennifer Calvert.  Some of her editorial clients include The Walrus, Nylon and Shameless Magazine.

This past year Vesna worked on a few public art pieces in both Toronto and Hamilton.  In collaboration with her friend and fellow illustrator, Vivian Rosas, they developed and designed ‘Gateway’ a city-voted mural on James St. South and again, this past summer the two of them worked with Lake Effect Projects to create an 8-panel piece at the Toronto Ferry Terminals.

Vesna feels like she never actually outright chose to be artist, it just kind of happened.  She grew up drawing as just a hobby and when she graduated from high school it just made sense for her to enroll in Design post-secondary.  Seven years after graduating, she’s still doing it and still get excited for new projects that come her way.

Mural graffiti in Toronto, artists painted wall - mural in Baby Point, Annette and Jane

Vesna’s mediums range based on the project.  For the Archer Dental mural she used Sherwin William’s exterior paint because it was agreed between both parties that they wanted a ‘hand-painted’ quality rather than a digital production.  Her editorial work is almost exclusively done digitally due to its flexibility.  That said – she regularly draws in my personal sketchbook with a Rodin fountain pen and pencil.

A Good Wall Mural is a Monument to the Community

Over the next two days I repeatedly stopped by, taking photos of the progress and in the final moments of the second day, as she was finishing up the mural.  The setting sun provided a blast of bright light that perfectly illuminated the finished piece and filled the artwork with the magic of this neighbourhood.

Graffiti, wall mural at 387 Jane St., Toronto

Vesna felt that it was an absolute pleasure to work with Archer Dental on this project and hopes that the community enjoys her creation as much as she enjoyed creating it.Toronto artists, Vesna Asanovic and illustrator, Vivian Rosas

This morning as I stepped across the street to get a coffee and croissant from the local patisserie, I watched the children being rushed to school by busy parents and I saw them stop and gaze at the wall in wonder and marvel at the newest art piece that has found its way into their community.

Ghosts Decorated Archer Dental Clinics on Halloween

Ghost projector in Archer Dental Baby Point

It’s Halloween and this year Archer Dental fashioned an arcane attraction that’s amazingly spooky. This year we put a ghost in the window at Archer Dental Little Italy at 564 College Street and from there we haunted all Little Italy on the weekend before the big date. Then on the stormy Oct 31st, Halloween evening we moved and set-up the attraction at Archer Dental Baby Point at 387 Jane st and mesmerized motorists all night.

Why put ghost projectors in waiting rooms?

While other Toronto dentists decorate their office waiting rooms with orange and black streamers on this occasion, and while they unpack tired plastic Jack-o-lanterns filled with sugar-free snacks, Archer Dental takes it one step further.  We do Halloween better. We recognize Halloween as an absolutely necessary event.  We encourage trick-or-treating and envision our neighbours meeting each others’ families in the flickering porch light that emanates from hand-carved pumpkins. We encourage harmless pranks that make happy memories. And we see how it makes our patients reflect on their own health and wellness as they ponder their mortality on this Day of the Dead.  It’s a nationwide neighbourhood occasion that’s quite unlike anything else in the calendar. And look closely, beyond everyone’s individual creative expression there’s something of a group emotion safety valve that needs to be turned. Dentists have a role to play assuaging people’s anxieties by simply being awesome.

Economies magazine reports that Canadians spent over $415 million on candy and costumes alone in 2017. That number doesn’t include decorations! This data proves that candy-spending on Halloween is now second-only to December where Canadians fork-over more than half a billion for holiday confections. According to a Scotiabank poll done a few years ago, the average person spends $70 on Halloween and fifteen per cent of our citizenry saves in advance for this special event; so we’re not the only folks who go out of their way to stage a fright.

Friday ghost projector on sheers in store front window was incomplete

One of our first ghosts at Archer Dental Little Italy at 563 College St

Through trial and error we’ve come to learn there are three core components to a successful ghost projection.

The projector, the media and the screen material are all three parts of a successful projection equation.

The projector we bought online via Atmos FX and it was inexpensive came with a few mini ghost movies which were very spooky, but too short. The rig also came complete with two tablecloth-sized white rear-projection screens which were not very impressive at all and sent us on the wrong path.  They would be acceptable for shadow dramas and scary symbol projections (a skull cross bones), but little else. The tests we did at Archer Dental Baby Point were so lame that the photos are not even worth including in this retelling.

we tried black scrim before we evolved the white sheers

This was the black scrim we tried and failed to properly illuminate.

Some of us were rather discouraged after the first tests.  The FX projector we bought was not very bright, and it became clear to us then that it wasn’t designed for commercial settings. One of the downfalls of doing this on a downtown street is the inherent light pollution. Even our own sign above the window was really bright and next door is a neon lit ice cream shop that blazes brightly until midnight. We could turn off all the light inside our office of course, but we couldn’t control the light outside on the sidewalk which was / is unbelievably bright and as such it greatly diminished the effect of the consumer grade FX projector we’d purchased. So in truth we had to upgrade all three components of the equation as expressed above; we needed a better projector, media and screen.

scrim in the window

Soft sheer fabric was seamless but placed too close to the window on Friday night.

Over the next few days we brought in a better projector and sourced a proper screen and went online to order more media that we could loop into a four minute movie. It was also important to make some blank spaces of pure blackness in the show so that ghost appears and disappears and could therefore scare people on the sidewalk outside.  Above is our Friday Oct 25th ghost show which was manifested on curtains purchased at Walmart that still had the folds visible in the fabric. On Saturday we went to a big box fabric store and purchased sheers that were ultra thin and double width – we managed to get 12 x 12 pieces of both and these were only a $40 total. The material is stretchy and so lightweight its actually easy to clip it to the ceiling tile flanges with secretary clips. We weighted the bottom with the furniture in the dental office waiting room.

ghost in the window, 564 College St in Little Italy Toronto

Pedestrians react to the brighter ghost that appeared on Saturday night

Saturday’s spirit was far superior to Friday’s apparition. It was brighter and the screen was less visible.  The rig was hooked into a six hour AC outlet timer. It worked to shock and delight passers-by on College street from six pm until midnight.
pedestrians spot the ghost in the store window from the sidewalk, 564 College St TorontoAnd it really worked. The ghost had to be twice as bright to catch pedestrian eyes and make them point it out to their friends, which many people did.

Morning ghost on college st - Archer Dental Little Italy at 564 College St

Halloween ghost decoration in the storefront window at Archer Dental Little Italy

I like this image below and I wonder how much better it would be if we’d turned off the lights under the sign?

Halloween dental ghost in front window of dental clinic

Gorgeous ghost in the window at 563 College St, Archer Dental Little Italy

The presentation at Archer Dental Little Italy suffered from the screen being two close to the window. If you are hoping to replicate this at home or in your store window, you’re advised to hang the fabric four or five feet back from the window to reduce reflections and glare.

On Halloween itself, October 31st 2019, it rained buckets in Toronto. It was really wet and discouraging between five and seven o’clock, prime trick-or-treating hours, and most families stayed inside .  But those young people who did venture outside in the Baby Point area may have seen our display inside that neighbourhood dental office.  Once again, see below how incredibly bright it is on the street!

ghost in the window at Archer Dental Baby Point

Ghosts inhabit Archer Dental Baby Point at Jane and Annette – Halloween 2019

But this time we had the tools and technical knowledge to make an impressive presentation despite the over bright arena.

how to make ghosts in windows of stores in Toronto

Beautiful ghostly lady beckons from the window of Archer Dental Baby Point

And we had some spectators. This young person spotted the ghost from across the street and came right up the window to try and see the source of the projection, which is difficult due to how this dental office is laid out. The facility has a perfect center aisle in which to position the step ladder upon which I placed the projector.

Archer Dental ghost projector, Halloween trick or treat spectators Baby Point ghost in window

Halloween spectators at Archer Dental Baby Point

Happy Halloween from Archer Dental.

Dr. Alida Andersen, Green Dentistry, Climate Strike Toronto

Dr. Alida Andersen has been a dentist in Toronto for more than a decade, and recently she has joined a growing chorus of diverse professionals that have become very passionate about saving the planet and keeping it clean for the future generations.  She has dedicated one day per week from her busy practice to promote positive change. Alida gives lectures and makes videos as she advocates for greener, cleaner and wiser living.  During the historic 2019 Climate Strike in Toronto, Alida took part in a related event co-hosted by Patterson Dental  (presented by Mark Seaforth) and designed to raise awareness in the Canadian dental industry.

On Friday, September 27th 2019, it was Toronto’s turn to go on a Climate Strike!  Protests were held in dozens of cities across Canada. One of the biggest events in the country happened at University Avenue and College Street, on the south facing lawn of Queen’s Park, right here in Toronto.  This very central location in our great city is the site of the Ontario Legislative Building which houses the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. If you want government to take notice of a popular notion, nothing is better than hosting a huge event on their front lawn. It also helps to get the press to cover the hullabaloo on the evening news.  The phrase Queen’s Park is regularly used as short form for the Government of Ontario.  Had any provincial members of parliament showed-up for work on that Friday they would have met a politely agitated mob of protesters who were about as fired up as Canadians ever get, talking tough about the environment.

Here are some of Archer Dental’s own original photos from the event. These shots were taken around noon at Queen’s Park on that historic day.

fossil fuel capitalist on fire at Climate Strike Toronto Friday Sept 27th 2019

Fossil fuel capitalism is on fire at Climate Strike Toronto Friday Sept 27th 2019

Young people vowed to make change at Climate Strike Toronto Friday Sept 27th 2019

Young people vowed to make change at Climate Strike Toronto Friday Sept 27th.

Green minded people vow to make change at Climate Strike Toronto Friday Sept 27th 2019

Green minded constituents pledge to hold more politicians accountable at Climate Strike Toronto on Friday.

The global climate strike saw thousands of protesters march in and around downtown Toronto to advocate for action to stop global warming. Tens of thousands of local residents flooded the streets as part of a rising movement to demand swifter action on climate change.

protesters inspired by Greta adults have failed us, Thunberg, speech Toronto

Young Greta Thunberg’s powerful speech at the UN assembly inspired many protesters in Toronto

The rally comes on the second week of global climate strikes, and this ‘strike’ was tied to a youth-led movement inspired by the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. So many people had t-shirts and signs that invoked the Swede’s image and words.

Dr. Alida Andersen Speaks on Sustainable Dentistry During the Climate Strike at the Royal York Hotel

Dr. Alida Anderson, a green dentist in Toronto

Dr. Alida Andersen is an experienced dentist that’s driven to raise awareness and find new ways for dentists to make positive change. She received her degree in Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) from Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at University of Western Ontario. In addition she has an Honours Bachelors of Science degree (B.Sc.H.) from University of Toronto. As a dentist she works hard to provide best dental care for her patients.

On that historic Friday in September, Alida went on strike when she co-hosted a climate related event just a six blocks south of Queen’s Park, at the bottom of the city in the Manitoba Room of the Royal York Hotel.

Alida started her talk with a video that she made to remind us of the dangers and our shared responsibility to stop purchasing products and services that put vast amounts of plastic and toxins into the ecosystem.  She informed us that much of the damage that is being done to the ecosystem is not being properly tracked, and how so many conveniences we cherish have negative environmental implications. Then she held up a plastic cup, and plastic goodies bags loaded with tooth floss and toothbrushes.

“How many of you still dispense these plastic bags filled with sample dental hygiene tools to your patients?” Alida asked, and there was an awkward murmur.  Toothpaste giants and other dental supply companies distribute thousands of these branded gift bags that are filled with small sample sized products for consumers to try at home. It’s just marketing of course, and the patient feels good about getting a small bag of free stuff.  But this is part of the problem; most of that stuff ends up in a landfill.  Some of it doesn’t even get used.

Then she reminded the professionals in the room, that “although we have a huge limitation when it comes to having to use so much plastic waste due to infection control, we still need to find better ways”.  And there followed a long discussion on alternative treatments, reusable products and new digital technology that replaces some of the plastic waste used during dental treatments. There are a lot of ways we could clean up our act and the talk inspired our own staff members and the office administrator at Archer Dental to take another look at the ways our clinics make and handle waste.

“As difficult as this can all seems to be, due to all the limitations that we have, collectively we will be able to move forward, find solutions and push our profession to a leading edge, where not only we care about our patients mouths, but we also care for their general heath and the health of our planet.” Alida Andersen.

Alida believes that every one of us has the power to make a difference, not only in our profession, but in our everyday lives. She says, “Every single effort that we make will count. And yes many times it may feel like a drop in the ocean but we will get there.  Once we start to ask for solutions, more solutions will come. We can start with baby steps, and eventually we will get there.”

National Dental Hygiene Month

October is easily one of the busiest months of the year. In addition to high-profile events like Thanksgiving and Halloween, it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness month, National Disability Employment Awareness month and – most importantly for all of us at Archer Dental – National Dental Hygiene Month!

This October, we’re excited to celebrate National Dental Hygiene month by profiling some of our incredible dental hygienists.

Scroll down to learn more about Jasmine, Mary, Andria, Christina and Cristina and, as an added bonus, we’ve asked them to share some of their best oral hygiene tips to help keep your smile healthy and bright in between appointments!

national dental hygiene month

Jasmine Khattab

How long have you been a Dental Hygienist:

12 years

Best piece of oral health advice for patients:

For those who are fans of natural/botanical remedies, chewing on cloves daily can help remedy bleeding gums. Make sure to still brush 2x daily, and floss nightly as well.


Mary McNulty 

How long have you been a Dental Hygienist:

9 years

Favourite part of the job?

My favourite part about being a dental hygienist is that I am making a positive impact on the world one patient at a time. I feel I am given this special opportunity  to make a difference in a patient’s life by focusing on their apprehensions and goals and creating a trusting relationship with them through, education, empathy, and genuine care.

Best piece of oral health advice for patients:

The best piece of advice that I can give patients  in between their appointments is to FLOSS THE TEETH THEY WANT TO KEEP and if they fall off the Floss train, just get right back on…..


Andria Frej

How long have you been a Dental Hygienist:

13 years

Favourite part of the job?

The favourite part of my job is sharing my passion and knowledge with clients about dental hygiene care and having them leave with a smile on their face.

Best piece of oral health advice for patients:

The toothbrush does not remove 6 months of calculus 30 min before your appointment but brushing 2 times a day and flossing nightly Is the best way to keep you and your mouth healthy.


Christina Athanasakos

How long have you been a Dental Hygienist:

4 years

Favourite part of the job?

One of my favorite parts of being a hygienist is how much time I get to spend with my patients, one-on-one. I’ve heard many interesting stories, from what it’s like to travel to Iceland to what it’s like to live to age 97.

Being a dental hygienist gives me a chance to change lives for the better. I’m given an opportunity to treat people with empathy and caring in order to build a foundation of trust. As well as, prevent dental decay and providing them with education about how to care effectively for their teeth, gums, and the effects of diet on oral health.

I can help patients who have dental anxiety become more relaxed in the dental office, and my ultimate success is when I have a patient who can’t wait to come back!

Best piece of oral health advice for patients:

Brush 2X a day with a soft bristle toothbrush, brush your tongue, use fluoride toothpaste, floss everyday, mouthwash 2x a day and drink lots of water!

Cristina Sacilotto

How long have you been a Dental Hygienist:

9 years

Favourite part of the job?

Seeing patients’ oral health improve with our team’s advice and knowledge.

Best piece of oral health advice for patients:

It’s never too late to start taking care of your oral health!