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Why Do All Dental Offices Smell The Same?

what is that smell

When you walk into a dental office and breathe deeply, you’ll immediately recognize that dental office smell. There’s nothing quite like it. But why do all dental offices have that certain super-clean stench? At my dental office in Staten Island, we become immune to the everyday smells that go along with working here. We also realize our patients are the complete opposite, and the odor can be odd. But we can explain.



There are unique smells that come from dental procedures themselves. A common term associated with the aroma of a dental procedure is tooth dust, which can be experienced during a filling, root canal, and numerous other procedures. The scent of tooth dust can be limited by using a vacuum and a lot of water during treatment. Since a dental office is packed doing treatments all day long, tooth dust permeates the air and can linger around, contributing to overall dental office smell. However, tooth dust is not the only thing that makes dental offices smell like, well, dental offices.



The materials used in dental procedures can also have pretty strong scents. Acrylic, which is used for crown and denture construction, is one of the most common materials that contribute to the dental office smell. Additionally, clove oil that’s often used in fillings, has a powerful aroma.



One of the most important things to your dentist in Staten Island is sanitation and infection control. Everything used to keep our patients safe, healthy, and away from germs can have potent odors. The gloves, antibacterial soaps, disinfectant wipes, super-hot sanitation ovens, and the mixture used to sanitize tools that can’t be heat-sterilized are all standards in our practice, and all help create the unique dental office smell. However, pungent smells often go hand in hand with high levels of sanitation. Personally, we’d rather have the smell than an unsanitary dental office.


While we don’t think anyone will be making a dental-office-scented candle anytime soon, we do encourage you to think of the aroma as a good one. It means your teeth are being well taken care of in a clean and sanitized practice, both of which are key at my Staten Island dental office.


Serving patients from Staten Island, Tottenville, Prince’s Bay, and surrounding areas.


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