Dentist Forrest Noelck follows in father’s footsteps


Forrest Noelck worked in Guatemala on children who had never seen a dentist. (West Valley View photo by Tim Sealy)

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

When Forrest Noelck was a child, he visited his father at his dental office. “Take Your Child to Work Day” was so important to Alan Noelck that he would have a catered lunch and interesting cases.

“I thought that was how it was every day in the office,” Noelck said with a laugh. “That was the only exposure I had to it for a while. I would pop in for those and go as a patient, of course. I never thought about being a dentist.”

That changed his sophomore year at ASU when he went on a hike with his dad.

“I asked him one time, ‘What do you like about being a dentist?’” said the 27-year-old alumnus of Westview High School in Avondale. “He talked to me for a little bit, and what his day-to-day was like. I asked him about how he keeps up with changing trends in dentistry.”

Noelck was convinced that he had to follow in his father’s footsteps. After schooling and a handful of residencies, he joined his dad’s practice on July 31.

“It’s been a long time coming, but something I never thought would happen,” he said.

The journey to his father’s dental practice is an interesting one. He moved to Colorado for dental school, based on his love of hiking and skiing. While there, he worked for a variety of community clinics before heading to Portland, Oregon, for a general practice residency at the VA.

“With that, I got a lot of experience across all aspects of dentistry,” Noelck said.

Working at the community clinics and the VA gave him the experience and confidence he needed to join his father’s practice. He admitted that he felt uncomfortable going straight from dental school to the Litchfield Park practice.

Noelck likes the importance that his father and his staff place on patients. They take the time to get to know clients and what they want.

“They aren’t trying to push through as many patients as they can,” he said. “Their big focus is on the patient.”

The staff works well with patients who are afraid of dentists.

“It entirely about trying to make the patient feel comfortable,” he said. “They don’t rush the patient in, see them and get started. For the first five to 10 minutes, we talk to them, find out where they’re from, why they’re here and what makes them click as a person.

“That generally relaxes them a little bit. It’s a very close relationship, I guess, when you work in someone’s mouth. If they don’t feel comfortable and it’s going to be an awkward situation for them.”

To do so, he recalls his experiences in college visiting Guatemala to provide services to banana plantation workers.

“There were children,” he said. “It was a very cool experience to be able to do that and to work in a different environment. In the States, you’re working in a nice, air-conditioned, controlled environment. There we were working in a room without air conditioning. There were a lot of fans going. It’s pretty hot and humid in Guatemala.

“I was sweating and trying to treat kids who have never had any dental work done. It was stressful but incredible, and it expanded my experience in dentistry. That taught me how to calm patients.”

Alan Noelck and Forrest Noelck, DDS

551 E. Plaza Circle

Suite C

Litchfield Park

623-935-1155

 
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