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Home > Newsletters > January 2004 >

Visit the Dentist – Have an Acupuncture Treatment?

Soft music, warm towels, the aroma of lavender or freshly baked bread, perhaps even a hand massage—until recently these items might not be associated with a dental visit. Yet a growing number of dentists say these pampering amenities persuade patients to make and keep appointments and help them stay relaxed during dental procedures.

Shirley Brown, D.M.D., Ph.D. and her colleagues teach dentists across the country to create a “comfort zone” for their patients by focusing on guest hospitality and comfort amenities.

Dr. Brown says the consumer media have coined the term “dental spa,” but many practices offer services and amenities specifically designed to relax patients without considering themselves a “spa.” The loose definition of “dental spas” makes it difficult if not impossible to know how many dental spas exist in the United States.

“In the 1980s, dentists started offering headphones with a selection of music to help distract patients from dental procedures, and gradually they started incorporating other things, such as video goggles, aromatherapy and softening the color schemes and lighting within their offices,” Dr. Brown explains. “Some dental practices now go so far as to offer foot massage (reflexology), pre-treatment meditation and breath work, acupuncture and paraffin wax hand treatments. Anything that elevates dentistry’s appeal to the public is a good thing, in my opinion.”

Since dental practices are independent businesses, it is up to the dentist to determine what types of patient services are offered. Ancillary services, such as the administration of botox, acupuncture or reflexology, should be performed by licensed individuals in accordance with local and state regulations, according to the ADA.

Dr. Brown says the cost of many amenities, such as aromatherapy, music and video goggles, is not generally passed on to the patient. However, services such as a foot massage, scheduled at the same time as the dental appointment, are billed separately by the individual providing the service.


This Month's Articles

January 2004
Volume 2, Number 1

Chinese Medicine as an Adjunctive Therapy for Cancer Treatment

Visit the Dentist - Have an Acupuncture Treatment

Western, Eastern Doctors Keep Troops Fit

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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