Dear Matthew Alice: It seems to me I've noticed that no matter what dental office you walk into, they all smell the same. What is that smell? — Marie Cook, Lake Worth, Florida
It’s probably the smell of fear, Marie. Well, no, it’s mostly the smell of cloves. Eugenol, the essential oil in cloves, is an ingredient in a cementing agent, a dental antiseptic, and a topical pain killer. The oils from camphor and thyme also contribute to the ambient odor. Dentistry is a very pungent profession.