For many dentists, fruit-flavored toothpastes, colorful toothbrushes or the occasional magazine during a fluoride treatment are the ample of the luxuries they offer during a routine visit.
For many patients, this is hardly enough to make having their teeth cleaned a bearable idea. Much to the contradiction, for the many individuals who are afraid of the dentist or intimidated by the idea of having a certain procedure performed on their teeth, it takes more dramatic measures to make them warm to the idea of visiting their dentist.
Luckily for potential patients such as these, dentists are doing more by the day to increase the comfort level in their office, and some have taken it as far as turning their practices into entertainment centers or even pseudo-spas.
Many cutting edge dental offices offer patients the chance to watch television or movies, often in high-definition or even on personal screens. Some also offer headphones or music players for listening to everything from comforting music to the radio to books on tape. Some of the most innovative offices have even begon offering 3-D headsets for watching 3-D movies during cleanings.
Other dentists who seek to elevate their patients' physical comfort rather than produce distractions or entertainment offer comforts such as massaging chairs, specialized pillows and neck rolls, wax treatments, hand and foot massages or even personal masseuses.
Your dentist may also extend the possibilities for making you more comfortable beyond the walls of his or her office. Some practices seek to alleviate the fears and apprehensions of their patients by partnering with a psychotherapist to offer counseling in various forms before or leading up to a visit to the dental office.
Hypnosis has also been identified as being helpful in making oral procedures more comfortable for apprehensive individuals, and some practices can also refer their clients to hypnotherapists that can schedule sessions immediately prior to visiting the dentist.
Beyond all the possible creature comforts and high-tech distractions, dentists today are also making an effort to employ an often-overlooked practice aimed at making their offices more welcoming places: empathy.
Recognizing that they can lose a patient to their fears and are having a more difficult time working on the teeth of those who are intimidated, today's dentist is trained to be more understanding of an individual's fears and better able to talk them through it. Many times, a simple comfort word or a little encouragement can go a long way.
Whether it's cutting edge electronics, a delightful massage or just a little coaxing, dentists today are doing everything they can to make visits to their practices more tolerable for everyone. If you're someone who has avoided having your teeth cleaned in the past due to a fear or apprehension, now is as good a time as any to give it another try.