Dental Spa

July 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
About half of Americans don't seek regular dental care and often fear is the reason, but that could soon change. More and more dentists are adding services you'd expect to find at the spa to help patients feel more at ease.The atmosphere is calm and soothing. There's a paraffin dip for your hands, cozy blankets and an aromatherapy pillow. From overhead TVs to foot massage, it's all designed to pamper and relax; but this isn't a spa ? it's the dentist's office. James Moreau, D.D.S., is one of a growing number of dentists who are turning their offices into dental spas to help patients like Lauren Anderson feel more comfortable. "I'd say it's more like a spa visit than it's like a dental visit," Anderson told Ivanhoe. "To many people, even with the idea of fear, the concept of being more comfortable is huge," Dr. Moreau, dentist at More Smiles Dental Spa in Covington, La., told Ivanhoe.

Fear of the dentist keeps millions away every year. About nine to 15 percent of all Americans avoid dental treatment they need because they're afraid to go and one study found women are 2.5 times more likely to fear the dentist than men. "Oh, it's so much nicer to have a patient say, 'This is the best part of my week,' versus, 'You know doc, nothing personal, but I really hate being here,'" Dr. Moreau says.

Louisiana State University dentistry professor Toby Cheramie, D.D.S., says the spa concept can't hurt. "Whatever can get the patient into an office to relax, let the dentist do an examination," he told Ivanhoe. "Whatever makes them more comfortable." Anderson says whether it's for whitening or a new filling, she'll never think of a dental appointment quite the same way again. "It just is very ? ah ? thank God, this is great," Anderson says.

Insurance companies do typically cover the cost of the procedures at dental spas, but special services like massage often cost more, so patients should ask before they go. At this particular spa, a massage costs about $45 extra. Also, experts say remember to check your dentist's credentials ahead of time.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
More Smiles Dental Spa
Covington, LA
moresmiles@bellsouth.net
www.moresmiles.com


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