Fall City dentist is all about smiles

“Hi! How are you?” Dr. Nichole Martin said, cheerily greeting her patient.

“We haven’t seen you in a while,” she said to the woman, and started to discuss the planned procedure with the patient at Fall City Family Dental.

It’s easy to see how the young dentist’s sincere demeanor and dedication to her patients and her practice earned her a selection as one of Seattle’s top dentists in January’s issue of Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. General dentists, such as Martin, were selected by specialists, who were asked who they would refer patients to.

From an early age, Martin said, she knew she wanted to help people. The Kirkland native doesn’t know what exactly drew her to dentistry, but said she never had a bad experience in a dentist’s chair.

“Maybe it was the nitrous, I don’t know,” she said, jokingly.

“I was in the dental chair a lot. My parents always let me drink a lot of soda growing up,” Martin said.

The hours spent at the dentist gave her an understanding of the patient’s perspective. Martin works to make her patients feel comfortable, and allay any fears they might have.

As a dentist, she can help alleviate or prevent people’s pain, giving them a smile, which gives her patients more confidence, she said.

“Dentistry has changed a lot, and most dentists are really sensitive to patients’ fears, especially here at Fall City,” she said.

“People have fears of everything, from the white coat to the drill to the needle to, you know, girls with brown hair,” said Martin, pointing at her brown hair.

Dentists are taught in school to keep patients informed about what they’re doing, and how to calm anxious patients.

Since returning to the Northwest after dental school at Tufts University near Boston, Martin has worked hard to develop a network of mentors, including Fall City Family Dental’s owners, Drs. Greg and Sabra Fawcett.

Martin works six-day weeks, which she splits between three dental practices.

“I feel it’s more like a privilege that I get to work on the patients that come in here,” she said, sitting in the Fall City practice.

She takes her role in a patient’s health very seriously.

“When it comes to dentistry, your general dentist is really the patient’s quarterback for the whole game,” Martin said. She coordinates with a patient and, when needed, specialists, to reach group decisions.

“Every patient in my chair, I treat them like family,” she said.

Martin is also a proponent of incorporating new technologies into her practice.

“Dentistry and the medical profession is constantly changing. Research brings new ideas, and so I think it’s really important not to get stuck in the same way you’ve been practicing dentistry and medicine,” she said.

To stay up to date, Martin and the Fawcetts attend continuing education classes, and she is part of a dental study group in Seattle.

But for all the effort Martin puts into staying up on new developments in dentistry, her selection as one of the area’s top dentists caught her by surprise.

The magazine tried to contact her about the article.

“I actually thought it was a scam, so I didn’t return their phone calls,” Martin said, laughing.

“I started getting e-mails and calls saying ‘Oh, we saw the article, congratulations.’ And so I went down to Barnes & Noble, and picked it up, and was like, ‘Wow, its true!’” she said.

The honor won’t change the way she practices dentistry, though, Martin said.

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