Office News |6 min read

Meet Our Dental Therapy Dog, Dr. Steve

Dental anxiety? Steve's happy to help!

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

Dental care is essential because we diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems, which if left untreated, become overall health problems.

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.

Collage of dental therapy dog, Dr. Steve, helping patients relax and stay calm during dental work.

How Dr. Steve is eliminating dental fear and anxiety

Dr. Steve has made quite a name for himself in Huntersville, SC.

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:

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.

Follow Steve 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!

Request an Appointment

Or contact us by:

Our office is based out of Huntersville, NC, and serves patients from all over, including Cornelius, Charlotte, Davidson, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Gastonia, and Concord, NC.

This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.