On most lists of places people hate to go, you’ll find the dentist’s office right up there with the DMV. While both places can cause stress, only the dentist’s office had a WebMD page dedicated to dealing with the fear of a visit. To combat that fear, the idea of spa dentistry was created. The Smile Spa was created to implement this concept in Baton Rouge. But to understand why it’s effective, one needs to understand the differences between spa dentistry and traditional dentistry.
A traditional dentist’s office gives off a feeling of being cold and clinical. When people think of going to the dentist, they often instinctively fear bright lights in their eyes, instruments intruding in their mouth, the sounds and smells those instruments make, poking, prodding, invading your personal space in a very sensitive area, and an overall sense of the whole experience being a necessary evil. It’s no wonder that research estimates roughly 75 percent of people have some level of dental fear. For years, this was accepted as the way things were done.
At a dental spa, like The Smile Spa, this concept has been challenged and changed. From the moment you walk through the front door, you are greeted by a friendly staff and the relaxing sound of trickling water from a fountain. The walls of the lobby are adorned with paintings of other clients displaying the results of the beautiful smiles and wonderful treatment they’ve received in the office.
During the visit, The Smile Spa goes to great lengths to put the patient at ease. Realizing that four of the five senses can help the patient’s state of mind, multiple amenities are utilized to help the patient relax. What you see, what you hear, what you smell, and what you feel are all directed towards a more relaxing experience with your comfort in mind.
What you see is a digital television. Every office is equipped with one. The time seems to pass by faster when the mind is allowed to focus on something else. In this case, that something else is a program on TV. If you don’t want to watch TV, you can opt for an herbal eye mask. Aside from blocking the visual world around you, an herbal eye mask can reduce or eliminate a tension headache, and open up the sinuses, allowing your breathing to be more natural and relaxed. Adding to that; we live in a screen dominated world. Think about how many hours of the day your eyes are focused on a computer, tablet, or smart phone. An herbal eye mask relieves the irritation and burning in the eyes caused by this exposure, relaxing your eyes, the muscles around them, and your mind as well.
What you hear is very important. Even with a television, you need to be able to hear it over the work that is being done so your focus is not on dentistry (that’s our job). That is why we offer headphones so you can concentrate on the show you’re watching. If you prefer music over TV, we offer that as well through your headphones. Music is a great relaxant. Our bodies naturally entrain to rhythm, and study after study shows that it can bypass the front of your brain, allowing your subconscious to relax.
What you smell is equally important. No one wants to smell the work that’s being done by a dentist’s drill. We offer aromatherapy creams for this purpose. It’s one thing for a staff member to tell you to relax. It goes a lot further when it’s your nose doing the talking.
What you feel is what really sets the dental spa apart from the traditional dentist. Rather than gripping the arm rests of a dental chair, we offer paraffin wax with mitts. Not only does this help you relax, but it adds the benefits of improving your skin, increasing blood flow to your extremities, and relieve joint stiffness. Rather than having your feet dangling off the end of the chair, we offer foot massage slippers. Of course we all know that a foot massage can relieve stress, pain, and anxiety. But, they also improve blood circulation, reduce the symptoms of a cold, and for pregnant women, they’re great for alleviating edema. One of the things some patients experience during a visit is dry lips. While a traditional dentist may view this as a natural side effect of the work being done, we offer lip balm to solve the problem. What you’re wearing plays a role in what you feel as well. A traditional dentist offers what amounts to a paper towel on a necklace to protect your clothing. We offer our patients a robe. This not only protects your clothing, but leaves you much more comfortable, making it that much easier to relax.
While we’re covering what you feel, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention sedation. Sedation dentistry is very popular and effective. You can be given a prescription 30 minutes before your appointment that will leave you completely relaxed throughout. If you opt for this method, you will need to have someone who can drive you home after your appointment. If you prefer, nitrous oxide is available as an alternative. You inhale the gas at the beginning of your visit, and you will be flushed with 100% Oxygen at the end of the appointment. If you choose this option, you are able to drive to and from the appointment and continue with your regularly scheduled day. For any other minor pain or discomfort, we offer Tylenol or ibuprofen.
All of these services are offered to you at no extra charge. They are the way we serve our patients to insure that your visit doesn’t bring those traditional fears and anxieties to the fore front. They are how we set our selves apart so that, instead of something you dread, your trip to the dentist is one you can look forward to.