Member Spotlight: Mindful Dental Care

Walking into Dr Kathrine Hammel's office is entering a typical dental office complete with shiny instruments and high tech equipment. Dr Hammel, however, is anything but a typical modern dentist. She's a young woman who runs her practice in a way that is reminiscent of an earlier time.

One of the keystones of her practice is taking a holistic approach, asking patients to provide a detailed medical history. She says she has found underlying health conditions such as anemia, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, even chicken pox from her dental examinations. As Dr Hammel says, "There are a lot of diseases that manifest themselves or at least show signs in the mouth. As part of educating my patients about their teeth, I also educate them about their overall health. I have helped people quit smoking, start walking and working out. I realize that, as a dentist, I have the ability to give people that extra nudge and support to take the next step towards getting healthy. It is fun to see people transform before my eyes as they start caring about their teeth."

Before opening her practice last year, she worked in Nogales, AZ at a public health clinic. Working there gave her a strong sense of why helping patients with preventative measures and educating them about how to care for themselves is so important. When considering opening a practice she considered buying an existing one only to ultimately decide she'd rather begin anew, educating her patients as part of her own dental care philosophy.
She admits it can be harder and less lucrative to run a private practice and emphasize prevention. There are corporations running dental offices that offer dentists a more steady stream of patients and more income, but Dr Hammel cannot compromise her values.

Dr Hammel learned of Local First Arizona from another member, Skillfully Aware. She looked into membership for the networking opportunities and when she learned about the advocacy work LFA does she was sold.

She is proud of being a Tucson Medical Center baby, being in one of the first classes to graduate out of Catalina Foothills High School and being the granddaughter of one of the first orthopedic surgeons in Tucson. She wants the local flavor of Tucson preserved and knows supporting local entrepreneurs does just that. She believes local businesses can restart the local economy.

Dr Hammel learned from her father, a local CPA, to hire folks in the community for needed services. Her practice employs a local alarm company and web site designer, purchases ink cartridges from a local supplier and banks with Bank of Tucson.

Dr Hammel says her membership in LFA has already paid off with three new patients since she joined less than four months ago. She is excited to host the next mixer on Wednesday, March 7 from 6 to 8 pm. at her office, 5717 E 5th Street. Foodie Fleet will set up and offer grilled-to-perfection sandwiches and other treats for purchase.

Mark Pirtle of Skillfully Aware gives this testimonial, "Going to the dentist has not ever been an experience I've looked forward to, especially if there's real work to be done, like having a cavity filled. But my impression of dentistry changed when I started going to see Dr. Kathrine Hammel. She is mindful and so careful that the Novocain shot she gave me didn't hurt at all! She has given me an enjoyable experience and changed my mind about going to the dentist forever."