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Spa Dentistry Puts a Ka-bosh on Dental Distress

Apr 11, 2008
Patients don't often consider a visit to the dentist any kind of relaxing treat. In fact, the anxiety over having dental work done can be reflected in the fewer than two-thirds of adult Americans who report visiting a dentist during a twelve-month period (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In light of these kinds of statistics, dentists are turning to the way of the spa to offer dental experiences that are more relaxing for their patients. It may seem hard to believe, but these days a visit to the dentist might even have you emerging more relaxed than ever.

A fairly new trend, spa dentistry combines spa and dental treatments to varying degrees. Some dentistry practices are infusing treatments such as reflexology, a strategic food massage, to help calm anxious patients. Other practices might offer more indepth spa treatments alongside dental procedures, such as aromatherapy, massaging dental chairs, paraffin wax hand treatments, and scented neck pillows. Patients also enjoy gourmet refreshments like coffee, herbal tea and fresh baked cookies. Spa dental offices may also offer concierge, mineral essential facials, and even virtual reality glasses to view movies during dental treatments. Cascading water fountains and soothing music bring a sense of calm to some of these more posh environments.

In one New York City dental practice, services can also include botox treatments, offered through a certified plastic surgeon. Patients like the fact that they can check a six-month cleaning off their list while also further enhancing their appearance. Considered a natural extension of dental work, botox improves a smile and overall patient satisfaction.

An Irving, Texas dentistry has adopted a philosophy of making the patient feel like they are anywhere but the dental office. To that end, the practice provides diversions for squeamish patients, including a large selection of music to create an ambient atmosphere; massage mats remotely controlled by the patient; spearmint pressure point cream massaged into the temples to ease stress; and lifescape glasses. A Baskin Robbins milkshake, hot towel, lip balm, and ibuprofen are even made available to patients who have had their mouth numbed.

Patients of a practice in Seattle, Washington, are tucked beneath a fuzzy blanket while heated lavender-filled pillows prop the neck and back. Instead of avoiding bright lights, patients rest their eyes under a lavender eye mask, and their hands receive a skin-softening treatment in lavender-scented mittens. Male patients prefer the movies through virtual-reality glasses. The relaxation techniques are effective for making the anesthetic work better and easing any pain associated with the dental treatments.

All this frou-frou treatment is more than some Manhattan socialite's idea of "me-time." Both relaxation techniques and oral health have proven to be important for patients at risk for conditions like heart attack or disease. As the dentist treats potential gum disease, a massage therapist helps patients overcome anxiety through massage.

Stress reduction techniques are especially imperative for patients with known heart disease. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends not only these kinds of techniques but also shorter dental appointments early in the day to reduce heart attack risk. For example, patients who have undergone heart value replacement are at higher risk for a rare life-threatening condition called bacterial endocarditis. Dentists working with heart patients may find relaxation techniques and monitoring for complications could prove to be a life saver.
About the Author
Geologix Inc. manufactures products using a proprietary formula featuring 34 natural minerals contained in the ancient sea water from the famous Michigan Basin -- a concentration of minerals higher than that found in any known body of water in the world. Mineral Essentials focuses on spa, skin care, and massage products to moisturize and provide anti-aging protection for great skin. Mineral Essentials
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