Warm hand towels, flowing espresso, beautiful aromatics, noise-cancelling headphones, luxurious editorial-worthy interiors, top-of-the-line technology, and lip masks? No, this isn’t a five-star spa we’re talking about. It’s a dental clinic that is looking to challenge the traditional notions of what a visit to the dentist can look like.
Paste Dental operates at the intersection of design and dentistry. “I grew up in Winnipeg, where I never felt fully understood,” says Dr. Derek Chung, who founded Paste Dental with his life and business partner, Dustin Carrington in 2022. “I felt like the science kid who liked biology couldn’t possibly also have a passion for interior design and culture. I loved being a dentist who was trained in medicine, precision, and protocol, yet I was so drawn to the beauty and emotional impact of art and design. It always felt like a never-ending push and pull.”
Upon moving to Toronto, Chung realized he could fuse dentistry and design. He turned to award-winning design studio, Studio Arthur. “I was drawn to their ability to evoke emotional impact in their spaces,” says Chung. “They do a beautiful job of reimagining the traditional idea of what a retail or hospitality experience looks like into something more modern and thoughtful. They also design by leading with how a person experiences a space, which was so important for us because we wanted to change the dental experience.”
Paste Dental is sophisticated, yet welcoming. An eye-catching tile mosaic in the lobby extends throughout the wood-enclosed hallway, and is comprised of eight different tiles—seven marble and one travertine—to offer dimension in colour and textures. The stone floor pattern is a modern interpretation of a mosaic tile inspired by Skanderbeg Square in Albania. Every single tile was dry-laid by Chung himself to ensure the proper balance of different colours, textures, and shapes.
Marble appears throughout the space, with an entrance portal cladded in polished Giallo Ambra, custom vanities built of Breccia Oniciata, powder room walls cladded in Verde Rameggiato, and window façades covered in Italian vanilla limestone slabs.
Designed to facilitate relaxation, Paste Dental features intimate spaces and warm material selections. It’s no coincidence that shades of green are featured throughout, it’s Chung’s favourite colour and is known to soothe the mind and reduce anxiety. Similarly, textures and millwork are rich, colourful, soft, and sumptuous to contrast the historically clinical feel of dental offices. Intentionally inward-facing seats and partitions covering the windows separate patients from the city chaos.
“We tried to study colour and shape perception on human psychology,” says Chung. “We used roundness and circular edges as much as possible to contrast the mental images of needles and sharp blades that some may envision when they think of the dentist. Mahogany-toned burlwood evokes warmth and softness throughout and tied the entire salon space together.”
Each operatory features soft lighting, a stark contrast compared to the more direct cool temperature lighting in most dental settings, and oversized sliding doors conceal the operating counter. “When a patient walks into our operatory, the clinical and intimidating aspects of their visit are covered and the doors are opened once the patient is seated and turned the other way,” says Chung.
Typical clinical dental chairs are replaced with luxurious camel coloured, top-of-the-line A-Dec 500 series chairs, which are manufactured in Newberg, Oregon. Naturally, the level of design detail is reflective of the quality of dental services. Cutting-edge digital technology and on-site 3D modelling ensures the delivery of superior services quicker and more sustainably, like same-day night guards and retainers, and crowns within two hours.
Refreshingly, this five-star experience doesn’t come with a vibe-killing bill; Paste Dental charges the same rate as the typical dentist next door by adhering to provincial rates so that anyone can experience a sense of serenity the next time they’re due for a check up.