Imagine walking through elegant French doors to find Impressionistic oil paintings, soothing music, calming colors, neo-Victorian design, open spaces, relaxing smells, beautiful floral arrangements, healing massages, an intriguing skydome, a quenching refreshment center, and entertaining movies.
If you had to guess, where would you say you were? A resort? An art gallery? A spa? How about a dental office? What?…how can that be?
Introducing the Dental Day Spa
You probably never thought you’d hear “Dental” and “Spa” in the same sentence unless it was, “I’d rather be at a spa than be at a dental appointment.” But that’s the past. Welcome to the 21st Century, where the spa IS the dental office, and where the boundaries of a spa and dental appointment become blurred.
I would like to hope the Dental Day Spa concept will be the future of dentistry. Having been a child who feared and hated dental appointments, I’ve always pursued solutions throughout my dental career that would make visits to the dentist more comfortable and relaxing. I already knew how things such as building trust, having a good relationship and providing effective communication formed the foundation of a great dental appointment for anxious patients. The next step was to bring together a superior product and Five-Star Service. But I suspected there was more that could be done.
It was while my dental practice was located in a previous office that I became aware of and researched the effects of environment and design on the anxious dental patient. I learned that such aspects as open spaces or wider corridors allowed people to feel at ease, although it may be subconscious to them. In contrast, narrow hallways and tighter spaces may lead to feelings of claustrophobia, being threatened or trapped. In addition, sounds such as falling water or soothing music have a calming effect. Color and pleasing sights also contribute to overall positive emotions. With the assistance of talented and experienced local architect Stan Hesse, the blending of high design and functionality resulted in the innovative Dental Day Spa.
Beautiful Smile Created in Beautiful Surroundings
If a dental office were created that didn’t look like a dental office, perhaps it could help to trick your mind that you were at a spa or resort and not seeing the dentist. The calming atmosphere would create a unique experience that was pleasing to the senses.
I took this concept even further by offering pampering services, such as full body massages and reflexology, which are definitely new to the dental office. The concept of melding product or service with atmosphere and emotion is not new. Starbucks is a prime example of this. Starbucks started in Seattle, Washington as a small coffee shop and retail outlet. It took an outsider who was inspired by coffee shops in Italy to marry a cup of coffee with conversation, comfort and community. The owners didn’t want to change their original idea. But progressive thinking prevailed, and now no matter where you go in the world, even in Japan, Singapore, and the Austin Powers movies, Starbucks is there bringing people together with regular, decaf or anyway you want it.
Why some people have phobias is usually a result of many factors, such as childhood experiences, reinforcement of fear by parents and the media, and ongoing experiences they feel are insensitive to their needs. Certain phobias, like the fear of heights or spiders, can be voluntarily avoided throughout one’s lifetime. But voluntarily avoiding dental care can lead to unfortunate consequences.
Keep Your Beautiful Smile by Keeping Your Dental Appointments
There are quite a few patients that completely avoid dental care because of fear and extreme anxiety. With environments and services changing to meet their concerns, they now have fewer reasons to avoid the dentist. They can finally find a dental office where they can feel comfortable and at home.
The main goal of helping people to have more comfortable, positive dental appointments is to assure optimal dental health for them now and through the years. If someone feels at ease about visiting the dental office, they will be more likely to stay current on their dental cleanings, examinations, and treatment. This is essential, as it is at these timely, regular visits that preventive measures for conditions such as gum disease (periodontitis) can be taken, and concerns addressed early. The number one cause of tooth loss in older adults is advanced periodontitis, so staying up-to-date with preventive appointments will help keep teeth and smiles healthy for a lifetime.
Dr. Wynn Okuda is an award winning international leader in cosmetic dentistry. He is one of only 280 dentists in the world to be accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Dr. Okuda turned the dental profession on its head nearly a decade ago, replacing pain, fear, & discomfort with the Dental Day Spa system. His offices for cosmetic, restorative and implant dentistry are located in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Dr. Okuda has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, American Spa, Shape Magazine, Better Homes & Garden, Health & Fitness Sports Magazine, New Woman, and dozens more!
Dr. Okuda is the founder of “Give Back A Smile,” a charitable foundation of the AACD which helps survivors of domestic violence throughout the nation to restore their smiles and lives. He has assembled nearly 1,000 cosmetic dentists nationwide to help fight against domestic violence.