For years, dentists have been looking for new ways to make dental checkups easier and more enjoyable experience. Everyone needs to see the dentist on a regular basis, and it shouldn’t feel like a dreaded chore. Dentists around the world are seeking to make their offices feel less like institutions and more like spas, where patients can receive personalized service to help them feel and look fantastic.
Modern dental spas offer a variety of services, including teeth whitening and relaxing aromatherapy. We think it’s about time to rethink your dental experiences and look for a dentist that provides a more spa-like atmosphere.
Some dentists offices may advertise their spa services, but many do not. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. There is currently no standard of what a dental spa offers, and the services provided may vary greatly.
You might see aromatherapy offered alongside teeth whitening, or headphones playing the music of your choice. You might see TVs in the exam room, so you can watch a movie during your treatment. You might even have wifi access so you can get on the internet while you wait.
The shift toward reducing stress is being encouraged by the American Dental Association, particularly for those patients with heart concerns or who suffer from dental anxiety. Offering more pampering during dental visits also helps dentists attract those who would otherwise resist going to the dentist. Improving the experience of visiting the dentist and reduces anxiety in those with a fear of dentists.
While a spa experience may not be the first thing you think of when you think of going to the dentist, it’s not really that big of a stretch when you stop to think about it. Teeth whitening and other basic services are offered at plenty of spas to make you look better, so it only makes sense that dentists offices would expand their services to include other cosmetic services as well. When your goal is to look and feel better, it doesn’t really matter whether you visit a traditional spa or a dental office that offers spa services alongside your regular checkup and cleaning.
Supporting Dentistry With Principles of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique used to heal various ailments. Acupuncture dates back thousands of years and originally used needles made of bone, stone, and other materials. It is believed that the idea behind acupuncture was discovered by chance, when people experienced improvement in an illness or other health condition after an injury.
The earliest written reference to acupuncture dates back to 200 BCE. At that time, the practice had spread from China to Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. There are several variants of acupuncture, but they all work on the same basic principles. Eastern medicine is based on the flow of chi, life force energy that flows through the body along pathways known as meridians. Each meridian is associated with specific organs and parts of the body.
Meridians can be compared to rivers and, like a river, there are shallow areas and deep areas. Areas along the meridians where the chi flows near the surface are the points used in acupuncture. According to traditional Chinese medicine, areas of stagnant chi can cause illness and other problems. With training, it’s possible to stimulate certain points to encourage the healthy flow of chi, promoting balance and good health.
A great deal of research has been done that proves the efficacy of acupuncture. However, the Western world is still fairly new to understanding how acupuncture works and what it can do. Interestingly, despite having been practiced in the East for millennia, it’s only been practice in the United States for a few decades, with the first clinic opened in the 1970s.
In dentistry, acupuncture is an effective pain management tool. Acupuncture can not just ease pain, but can increase pain tolerance in many patients. Managing pain is especially important for those suffering from temporomandibular disease and joint pain, as well as after surgery. Simple procedures that can effectively reduce pain are always important.
Acupuncture can also help reduce anxiety. Research has found that about 5% of Americans have dental anxiety so severe that they go to great lengths to avoid going to the dentist. Anxiety is a major factor in more than a third of people who do not see their dentist regularly.
What’s more, up to a third of Americans have some degree of dental anxiety. These people may not go to the same lengths to avoid seeing the dentist, but they may delay going. There are as many causes of dental anxiety as there are people who suffer from it, but acupuncture can help many of them overcome their anxiety and make visits to the dentist easier.
Any technique that can ease dental anxiety can offer patients a better dental experience. Dental surgery in particular can be difficult, because patients don’t stay in the office to recover. But it is possible to alleviate anxiety. Double-blind studies have proven that pre-procedure acupuncture can significantly reduce anxiety. This shows that acupuncture can be an important part of patient-friendly dentistry.
Acupuncturists in the United States must be professionally trained, and many holistic dentists either hire licensed acupuncturists to work in the office or refer patients for follow up acupuncture. Acupuncture is considered by some to be an outdated technique or something only done in Asian countries, but as time goes by, more people are realizing that acupuncture is just relevant, useful, and effective today as it ever was.
Pricing Dental Spa Services
In many dental offices, there is no extra charge for these extra amenities. However, it’s important to remember that dental spas typically focus on cosmetic dentistry and other services that may not be covered by insurance. If you aren’t sure, your dentist’s office can help you find out what services are most likely to be covered by your policy. Services that are covered by your insurance should be covered regardless of the type of practice that offers them.
Give a Dental Spa a Try
Spas and spa-like services have become so commonplace that they can even be found in some hospitals, so choosing a dental clinic that offers them is not such a stretch. Dental clinics have become increasingly patient-friendly over the past few decades, offering more and more spa amenities.
If you’re still getting dental care at an office that doesn’t offer a spa experience, it may be time for an upgrade.
Spas and medical clinics have crossed over to such a degree that there is no longer a significant difference between the two. Dentists may have started out offering spa services as a way to gain an advantage over their competition, but are now making those services a regular part of their practice. The dental industry as a whole is shifting toward being more like a spa and less like a traditional dentist’s office.
The most important part of choosing a dental office or spa is to find one that offers the services you need first, along with an assortment of amenities that can benefit you. If you can find an office that offers both what you need and what you want, you can’t help but have a great experience.
It doesn’t really matter whether a dental office calls itself a clinic, a spa, or something else, provided they have a great dentist as well as a great staff. If you’re currently seeing a dentist that adds to your dental anxiety rather than helping to ease it, you’re in the wrong place. When you come see us, you’ll have a relaxing spa experience with television and headphones, aromatherapy, teeth whitening, and a variety of other services.
Call us at (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr. Paige Woods, DDS