Do you suffer from dental anxiety or fear?
You’re not alone. Millions of Americans are apprehensive about visiting the dentist.
Sedation dentistry is often the go-to method for overcoming dental fear, but at NorthStar Dentistry for Adults, we have another option:
Cuddles with our dental therapy dog, Dr. Steve, a miniature long-haired dachshund.
What is a dental therapy dog?
Therapy pets or emotional support animals provide comfort, affection, and support – especially in stressful situations.
Our therapy dog, Dr. Steve, does the same, but he’s trained specifically for a dental office setting.
He’ll sit on your lap during treatment and help you take your mind off your appointment and reassure you everything is ok.
He takes ear scratching and belly rubs as payment.
Watch this short video to hear what a real patient has to say about Dr. Steve.
The benefits of a therapy dog in a dental office
Now, we know it’s no secret:
Going to the dentist isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. If you suffer from dental fear or anxiety, you may even avoid the dentist altogether.
Our Huntersville dentists, Dr. John Merrill and Dr. David Bunn, are continually searching for new ways to improve your dental experience, from quick and pain-free technology to making your visits as convenient as possible.
In 2018, we thought of a new idea:
A dental therapy dog!
Studies… This text opens a new tab to the study… show us interacting with animals helps to:
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Lower the stress hormone; cortisol
- Release “feel-good” hormones; serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin
- Promote friendly social interaction
- Ease fear and anxiety
These benefits have been proven time and time again as more hospitals and extended care facilities employ therapy dogs to provide affection and comfort in difficult emotional times.
We thought Steve could help patients overcome their dental fear, and we were right! He’s been a big hit.
How Dr. Steve is eliminating dental fear and anxiety
Patients who used to avoid the dentist are now pushing through their fear or overcoming it entirely to finally receive the dental care they need, in large part due to Dr. Steve’s presence during appointments.
Dr. Steve will help you through:
- Preventative dental care necessary for maintaining or improving your oral health
- Cosmetic dental work to improve your smile’s appearance and boost your confidence
- Restorative treatments to rebuild your smile’s function and bite, and get you out of any pain
Hear how Dr. Steve helped Carol through some tough times with her anxiety about visiting the dentist.
P.S. How cute is Dr. Steve’s new shirt? View more fun pictures of Dr. Steve around the office on Instagram.
Stop by and meet Steve
Next time you visit us, be on the lookout for Steve. You can usually find him hanging in the waiting room, playing in the hallway, or sitting with a patient.
Did you know there are many other benefits to having a dog? Our friends over at Fluent Woof have compiled a comprehensive list of 102 scientific benefits of having a dog… Opens in a new tab to Fluent Woofs’ Website.
If you would like to have Steve by your side on your next scheduled appointment, just let us know!
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This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.