Pink chrysanthemum flowers with candlesAs many as 20% of Americans have some degree of dental phobia and dental anxiety is so widespread that there is even a scale for measuring the intensity of anxiety a patient may be experiencing.  However, new dental spas are hoping to attract fearful patients by offering such services as manicures, music, aromatherapy, massage, or other services.

Laleh Fazli of the DC Dental Spa explains that some patients are terrified of any kind of dental work.  To make the visit more pleasant, the office has a massager in the chair, coffee and tea in the waiting room, and complimentary cooling eye masks and facials.

Most dental practices (including the Brighton Dental Spa) offer oral or IV sedation or medication for anxiety or pain, but dental spas are offering different ways to help you relax.  There is no specific definition of a dental spa, so it’s hard to say exactly what kinds of services you might be able to expect.  In some offices, you might find scented candles and relaxing music, while another office might have a therapy dog to help you relax.

At one time, most dental work was basic cleanings and fillings, while whitening, veneers, and other such procedures were generally considered to be the domain of cosmetic dentists.  Either way, anything that makes the dental visit more pleasant, or at the very least less anxiety provoking, goes a long way toward getting patients to have those things done before small problems turn into large ones.

According to Google Trends, the term “cosmetic dentist” is rapidly giving way to “dental spa”.  As recently as five years ago, people searched for cosmetic dentists 50% more often than they did dental spas.  Today, this is reversed.

Whatever you call it, making patients comfortable with their dental care is the way dentistry should be practiced.  Dentist Mena Ghobryal believes a comfortable environment means a comfortable patient, which means better results.

This doesn’t mean that traditional dentists are a thing of the past.  Technological advances and less expensive technology is allowing more dentists to replace painful drilling with lasers.  It may not be long before all dental patients are getting manicures and massages while watching movies and having their teeth worked on.

Your turn.  Do you have a fear of the dentist?  Have you ever been to a dentist that offers these kinds of services?  If you have, did it help?  If you haven’t, would you give it a try?

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