As you settle into some warm slippers, a cozy blanket, and a spot by the fireplace, it can be easy to forget that you’re not at a spa, but at Hygiene by Claire Quesnel, an office dedicated to dental hygiene. It’s this focus on creating a new concept with its relaxed, quiet, and stress-free environment that has helped to make this innovative, still-young business a success. “There is no drilling, no suction, no needles, which is a huge relief right off the bat for many people,” said owner Claire Quesnel, who celebrates her business’ two-year anniversary in October. “I hear a lot about how people are glad to come here, even though they’re deathly afraid of going to see the dentist. We really put a lot of emphasis on making our clients comfortable, from the moment they walk in until the moment they leave, all to make sure they go out with a smile on their face.” Proper oral care is a crucial component of an overall healthy life, and can help stave off any number of problems such as heart disease and diabetes, making Quesnel’s work an important aspect of a balanced lifestyle. This is not only personally rewarding for her, she said, but also reduces clients’ need for dental work later on. “And it’s true: if you take care of your teeth, you do all your prevention and homework, and some teamwork with your hygienist, you’ll do well.” Helping people develop and maintain proper oral hygiene is something for which Quesnel has an obvious passion, a love she cultivated for 21 years as she worked for renowned local dentist, Dr. Jim Davis. When he retired, however, Quesnel was left to wonder about her career options in a city where opportunities for dental hygienists were few and far between. Determined to stay in her home community of Timmins, where her family had set deep roots, Quesnel decided to take a chance and cast out on her own in 2010. Taking advantage of the recent provincial legislation allowing dental hygienists to provide care without the presence of a dentist, Quesnel set up shop in a central, fully accessible second-story office overlooking Algonquin Boulevard. She put into place her spa concept with an eye on client comfort and preventative care, and began to offer dental cleaning and whitenings, custom mouthguards, oral assessments, and more. This was no easy feat for a first-time entrepreneur, with many considerable hurdles to overcome, including the many logistical and financial concerns that come with establishing a new business. In particular, the equipment involved in dental hygiene is particularly expensive, and represented significant start-up costs. More unnerving for Quesnel, however, was the anxiety surrounding the simplest and most fundamental question: “Is this even going to work?” The answer has been a resounding “yes,” as the move has clearly paid off, with Hygiene by Claire Quesnel having doubled its client list over the past year. As prominent local dentists continue to retire and residents continue to seek alternative choices for their oral health care, more and more clients have turned to her services – including many of Dr. Davis’ former clients, who followed Quesnel to her new practice. While word of mouth has contributed greatly to her success, Quesnel also attributes her success to her incredible teamwork with enthusiastic full-time staffer Coraly Curley, who’s much more than the business’ office administrator. As a registered dental hygienist hoping to one day ply her trade, Curley is also fully knowledgeable about the finer points of oral hygiene, and can address client questions with ease. Her expertise has also allowed her to develop marketing materials and strategies for the business, which have also been used to great effect. Together, their work is focused on one thing: providing high-quality service. Careful scheduling ensures that clients experience little to no wait time, and thanks to Quesnel’s bilingualism, they can often be taken care of in the language of their choice. “We’ve even had people who can’t speak English come in, and we’ve worked to accommodate them by typing everything out in their language, which has helped to make them feel welcome and comforted to know that they can still get the service they deserve,” said Curley. In return, Quesnel has been blessed with what she calls “the best clients in the world,” making it seem as though their visits to her business’ cozy, comfortable office are instead friends stopping by her house. “It’s busy, busy, busy, but we love every minute of it.” To learn more about Hygiene by Claire Quesnel, please visit them in Timmins at 11 Rea Street North, Suite 200; call them at (705) 267-2727; or visit them online at www.ifloss4u.com Click here to see the full-sized image.