Westlake Dental Associates puts the finishing touches on an expansion and introduces a new member of the medical team

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Westlake Dental Associates—growing with the community—offers convenient, extended hours to patients of its dental practice. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit)

By Adam Cook

Dr. Chrys Constantinou, of Westlake Dental Associates, says the mouth is the gateway to the body, and we can extend the metaphor to his growing practice where, through its double doors, an expansion is underway to accommodate the health of the community.

Renovations to an unused 1,600-square-foot space at the back of the building are making room for five additional operatories, what we think of as dentist’s chairs, and a new dentist at the practice.

Dr. Allyson McClendon joined Dr. Constantinou and Dr. Jessica Chrzanowski at Westlake Dental earlier this month.

“With three doctors, we’re better able to manage emergency dental appointments, like the soccer match or little league game that ends with a chipped tooth,” says Dr. Constantinou.

“We’re also better able to work around our patients’ schedules. There will be more evening appointments when many of our patients are getting out of work.”

After graduating from the Case School of Dental Medicine in 2017, Dr. McClendon continued her studies and completed an optional one-year residency affiliated with University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

“I chose a program that focused on what they don’t teach you in dental school—placing and restoring implants, as well as other more medically complex procedures,” says Dr. McClendon.

Although Dr. McClendon expanded her education by taking part in advanced training, an appreciation for the basics initially drew her to the practice of dentistry.

“I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare, but only the dentist is fortunate enough to see whole families,” says Dr. McLendon. “It’s a privilege to be part of the intergenerational relationships that often develop and help parents reinforce positive health values in their children.”

Although a two-year-old’s first trip to the dentist might be a chair ride with mom or dad, the experience leaves an impression and imparts the value of maintaining oral health. Early positive experiences ensure children won’t be daunted by the lights, gloves and masks of the operatory later on.

“Whatever their experience in the chair, they always remember where to find the tooth-shaped chest to dig up their toy,” says Dr. Constantinou.

“We try to make the experience fun and positive. Everyone in the No-Cavity Club takes part in regular drawings for small giveaways. Every week this month, the office is giving away a backpack full of school supplies.”

Dr. McClendon, along with Dr. Chrzanowski, shares Dr. Constantinou’s abiding belief that the mouth is the gateway to the body.

“Oral health affects overall health,” she says. “During my residency, dental clearances for heart patients were routine. People don’t realize that an infection in the mouth can travel to the heart.”

At Westlake Dental, education is the best medicine.

“There are connections to heart conditions, diabetes, lower birth weights and, particularly, women’s health,” says Dr. Chrzanowski.

“Soft tissues in the mouth are susceptible to hormone changes. During pregnancy, it’s common to experience gum sensitivity. Oral health is essential in every stage of life. During menopause, a woman might notice a drier mouth, and there might be a need for her to change the way she’s cared for her oral health her whole life.”

Westlake Dental continues to build on a platform that acknowledges the person sitting in the dentist’s chair and continues to expand the services and technology available to its patients.

The practice incorporates X-rays that use advanced digital imaging technology to reveal three-dimensional models of the jaw. The technology singles out potential tumors and sheds light on any difficulties a particular treatment presents.

Using the same technology to create an accurate digital impression, the CEREC machine crafts fittings in the space of a single appointment. And, as an alternative to the dental drill, no other technology transforms the way we feel about the dentist more than the Solea Dental Laser. The technology speeds up dental procedures, while significantly reducing pain.

Westlake Dental puts people the technology is designed for first.

“What might be right for one patient might not be right for another patient,” says Dr. Constantinou.

“Communication with our patients is a two-way street that intersects with technology. Once we find why a patient is in the chair and who the patient is—the hopes and circumstances of each person—the technology is there to provide the best option—what’s feasible, when and where it fits into a person’s life and how long it will take.”

On the cusp of starting her career, Dr. McClendon says there are some things you can’t learn in dental school.

“Since graduating, I’ve had the opportunity to grow by watching Dr. Constantinou and Dr. Chrzanowski interact with the patients here,” she says.

“They’re compassionate, they listen, and patients always feel comfortable to voice their concerns. At Westlake Dental, our patients are in charge of their oral care. Our job is to work with them to develop the best course of treatment.”

Westlake Dental Associates is located at 25575 Center Ridge Road. Request an appointment by calling 440-835-8999, or visit WestlakeDentalAssociates.com. Hours are Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.