Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Health Dental Clinic

The dental clinic offers professional and compassionate dental care to the native beneficiaries of Ketchikan.

Our dental services include the following treatment:

  • Exams
  • X-rays
  • Hygiene services / cleaning
  • Preventative services
  • Fillings
  • Routine / surgical extractions
  • Root Canals

Dental services provided on a fee for service basis include the following:

  • Orthodontics
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Dentures
  • Partials
  • Bleaching
  • Nightguards
  • Sportsguards

These services fall outside the scope of routine, preventive, restorative and urgent care. The cost is to cover the additional expense of special equipment, time and laboratory fees. Fees for specific treatment can be discussed at the initial oral examination appointment.

Dental Staff

Elmer J. Guerrero, DDS

Dr. Guerrero is the KIC Dental Director. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Marquette University School of Dentistry in Wisconsin. He has worked in Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and with SEARHC before coming to KIC in 1999. He enjoys spending his free time with his family.


Lisa Bezenek, RDH

Lisa is a registered dental hygienist and licensed in both Washington and Alaska and is also able to administer local anesthesia. Lisa worked in private practice in Bellevue, WA for 10 years prior to moving to Ketchikan in 1994. Lisa also works part time at a private practice in town and has been with KIC since 2003. Her husband is a commercial fisherman and they have 3 children. Lisa is involved with many activities which include Killer Whales and First Lutheran Church.

Lauren Mirsky, RDH

Lauren is originally from Massachusetts. She is a registered dental hygienist and has been licensed in Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Washington, and now Alaska. She had worked for a private practice in Ketchikan since she moved here in 1997. Lauren enjoys fishing with her husband, Ralph, and daughter.


Candy Williams, CDA/COA

Candy Williams is a Certified Dental (CDA) and Orthodontic Assistant (CDO). She is also a licensed pharmacy technician in Alaska. Candy has been employed with the Indian Health Service since 1979. She started her career with Seattle Indian Health and then in private practice. She moved to Alaska and worked for SEARHC Juneau. After living in Hawaii, she moved back to Ketchikan in 1988 and worked for IHS, SEARHC and now KIC.  Candy enjoys living in her hometown and loves working with her people. Married to husband Matthew for 14 years, she has a daughter, 1 grandson, and 3 step children. Traveling and fishing is her passion and likes to state that “she is the only Candy good for your teeth!”


Our Office


8am to 12pm, 1pm to 5pm    M,T,Th, F

10am to 12pm, 1pm to 5 pm   W

Appointments:  (907) 228-9202

View of dental clinic

View from dental waiting room


An appointment is considered broken 15 minutes after the scheduled time. An appointment may also be considered broken if a patient cancels without 24 hours notice. If the patient is late, the dental provider has the discretion of rescheduling the appointment dependent upon the type and length of the appointment. After two consecutive broken appointments, the patient will not be seen for scheduled appointments but only be seen on an emergency basis for the next 6 months.


Occasionally, the dentist may determine that a patient needs to be referred for services which are critical to the health of the patient and not available at Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Health Clinic. IN order for these services to be paid, you must receive an authorized  Contract Health Services referral form

Patient Education

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does sugar cause cavities?

A: Plaque forms on your teeth daily. When sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque it produces acids that damage the enamel on your teeth. Although decreasing sugar intake will help, it is impossible to avoid sugar completely as it is naturally found in many of our foods, including fruits and vegetables. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums you must brush and floss daily using good techniques to ensure the best results.

Q: There are so many different toothbrushes. Which one should I buy?

A: The brand of the toothbrush is less important than the type of brush, and how often you brush your teeth. We recommend that you have a soft bristle brush. This type of brush will effectively remove plaque and a soft brush will not damage your gums. We also recommend that you brush at least twice a day. The condition of your brush is also important, as when the bristles begin to bend over it is time to start using a new brush. When the bristles on your toothbrush are bent over they lose their ability to remove food and plaque. It is the tip of the bristles that clean your teeth the best.

Q: How does fluoride help my teeth?

A: Tooth enamel is hard but also has microscopic pores in it. Sugar combines with the bacteria in plaque, which forms on your teeth daily, to produce acids that seep into the enamel's pores. This causes the enamel to demineralize and become weak contributing to the formation of cavities. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the natural remineralization process. This keeps your teeth strong and healthy. Fluoride also fights cavities by reducing the amount of acids that are produced by plaque.

Q: Why do my teeth feel sensitive?

A: Tooth sensitivity is often experienced when the surface of the tooth has been worn down. One of the most common reasons for adults is that the roots of the teeth are exposed because the gums are receding. This allows the effect of heat and cold to penetrate to the pulp where the nerves are located. The problem gets worse as you tend not to brush your teeth properly if they are causing you pain. If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity, let us know so we can assess your situation and recommend the best treatment to take care of your discomfort.

Q: Is there anything I should do before my appointment?

A: There are a few things that you should keep us informed about in order to ensure that we are most effective when treating you. Please keep us informed about:

  • whether your teeth or gums are more sensitive to heat, cold or sweets

  • any changes in your gums, such as changes in color, tenderness or bleeding when you brush or floss

  • whether your floss catches on rough edges of teeth that causes the floss to tear

  • any changes in the skin on the inside of your mouth, such as changes in color

  • if you clench or grind your teeth, or if your neck and jaw muscles are tense or sore

  • inform us of any allergies you have

  • if you are pregnant

  • any medicine you are taking

  • if your medicine has changed since your last check-up

  • any health problems or medical condition that you are being treated for

  • any other changes in your general health

Q: Do we take X-rays?

A: X-rays help us see problems in the early stages of development; this helps us treat problems long before they become serious. If we catch a cavity early, we may be able to treat it without even having to fill or restore the tooth. If decay is not detected soon enough, you may not know you have a problem until it is causing you some pain or discomfort. Major tooth restoration may be needed to repair a tooth if the decay has advanced enough. X-rays reveal:

  • cavities between teeth, under the gums and around old fillings

  • bone loss due to periodontal disease

  • problems below the gums, such as long or crooked tooth roots

Q: Are X-rays safe?

A: You are already exposed to low levels of radiation from the environment on a daily basis. This is caused by natural sources of radioactive substances in the earth, the sun and from naturally occurring radiation in our bodies. This is commonly referred to as background radiation. The amount of radiation you receive during a single x-ray is equivalent to a few days of background radiation. In addition to the low levels of radiation used, we target the x-ray machine only at those areas we need to review in order to ensure that you have healthy teeth. We also cover the remainder of your body with a lead apron providing you with additional protection.

Q: How common is gum disease?

A: It is the most common dental problem, and it can progress quite painlessly until you have a serious problem. The end result is bone loss and the loss of teeth. Even though you may brush and floss regularly, regular visits to the dentist will help detect gum disease in the early stages.

Q: What if I am already in the early stages of gum disease?

A: If you already have gum disease, getting rid of plaque and tartar gives your gums a chance to get better. That's why in the early stages of gum disease, the best treatment is:

  • regular cleanings in our practice

  • brushing twice a day

  • flossing once a day

Q: Why do I have bad breath?

A: Many people suffer from bad breath; in fact, 40% of the population has problems with bad breath at some time in their lives. Some reasons for bad breath may be:

  • poor dental hygiene

  • eating certain foods, such as garlic or onions

  • smoking

  • chewing tobacco

  • diseases, such as cancer or diabetes

  • dry mouth (often called morning breath)

You can help reduce the occurrence  of bad breath by brushing and flossing each day to remove plaque. By avoiding certain foods you can also eliminate a lot of bad breath problems. If you wear a denture or removable partial denture, it is important to clean it thoroughly everyday and remove it at night so your mouth tissues can restore themselves daily. If a bad breath problem persists then let us know and we will try to discover what the problem is and recommend a treatment.


In many cases tooth decay initiates, not because of what type of food you put in your mouth, but because of the length of time a food or beverage is in contact with your teeth. After having a meal, snack or drink, the bacteria in plaque release acids that attack the enamel surfaces of your teeth. Repeated acid attacks increasingly erode the enamel, eventually causing tooth decay and cavities. That's why we suggest indulging in drinks (besides water) and sugary or acidic foods in one sitting, instead of snacking on or sipping them throughout the day.

If you can't break your habit of sipping the occasional beverage over a longer period of time, you may want to consider drinking through a straw, positioned towards the back of the mouth. This allows the drink to avoid as much contact as possible with your teeth, and therefore minimize the risk of not only cavities, but also staining on your front teeth.

Of course, even when drinking through a straw, your back teeth will still be bathed with sugary and acidic liquids, so it's always wise to rinse your mouth out with water when you finish your drink. Don't brush your teeth right after though wait at least 30 minutes after finishing your drink to brush, to allow softened tooth enamel to re-harden and avoid any damage caused by the toothbrush


Protect Your Child’s Smile

    • Ask about fluoride supplements
    • Ask about sealants
    • Limit sweet snacks
    • Brush daily with fluoride toothpaste
    • Visit the dentist twice a year
    • If parents have untreated cavities, you can pass the bacteria that causes cavities to your child

Baby Brochure

Links of Interest

American Dental Association                           

Academy of General Dentistry                         

Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health

Contact Us

KIC Dental Clinic

2960 Tongass Avenue

Ketchikan, AK 99901

Phone: (907) 228-9202