Thursday, January 06, 2005

Dentists Use Spa Perks To Calm Patients - Dr. Max Gomez - Dentists Use Spa Perks To Calm Patients

Let's face it, there are other things you'd rather do than go to the dentist. It's almost guaranteed to be uncomfortable, or worse.

"Just the whole thought of the dentist to me is scary, and I try to avoid coming at all costs," said Lawrence Rosen, a dentist patient.

But what if your dental experience could be something more like a spa?

"Fifty percent of the general population does not visit a dentist out of fear, and that's not really necessary anymore," said Dr. Jerry Strauss, of the Aesthetic Dental Care of New Jersey.

That's because a growing number of dentists are adding spa-type services to their offices, turning routine dental visits into something more inviting and less stressful.

"You are working in the mouth where people don't want you to work. It's dark and it's wet and you are working in tenths of millimeters, and whatever comfort level you can achieve makes a world of difference," Strauss said.

At Aesthetic Dental Care in Fairfield, N.J., you can wait for your appointment while relaxing in an electric massage chair, and you can forget about the dental work by watching TV or movies with virtual reality glasses.

"It takes your mind off what's being done, and that's nice because I'm not a great dental patient," said patient Nina Wasserman.

"The response has been overwhelming," said Dr. Glenn Alex. "I think anything that we do that shows the patients that they're the most important thing to us, they appreciate that very much."

At one practice in Georgia, you can get a massage while you're in the dental chair, in addition to a paraffin hand wax. And at the Perfect Smile Dental Spa in Chicago, you can get a full body massage while the smell of fresh baked bread wafts into the room.

"The patients love it," said Strauss, who also offers paraffin wax. "They come back and they want to have their hands dipped in the paraffin even if they don't have an appointment."

"We want to get the patient comfortable, so we use different procedures like massage therapy, aromatherapy. All the things to make them comfortable, allowing me to work on them a little easier," Strauss said.

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