Massages, Wrinkle Reduction: The 21st Century Dental Practice?
While channel surfing last week, I stopped at CNN and read the scroll: New York Dentist Offers Massages, Wrinkle reduction. The floor was hard, I learned, after I fell out of my chair.
Maybe it’s because I’m from Chicago, but doesn’t the dental spa concept consist of offering patients a beverage and cable TV? (One West Coast practice offers warm cookies, but the concept never caught on in our calorie- and caries-concerned community.)
Tracking down Paul Tanners, DDS, in his tiny dental practice on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, I learned that he doesn’t think his is a dental spa or boutique, but rather a practice that offers high-quality dentistry in a relaxed, nurturing and pampering environment.
For years, Dr. Tanners, a prosthodontist and restorative dentist, had helped his older patients gain younger-looking smiles. But if their lips and face remained wrinkled, my hands were tied, Dr. Tanners recalled. In the back of his mind, Dr. Tanners had envisioned offering his patients the ability to have minor cosmetic treatments in his office, thus alleviating the inconvenience of having to run around the city in search of multiple experts, plastic surgeons or estheticians.
With more than 30 years in practice, Dr. Tanners last year took the plunge and added free services that no other dentist offered. We were always providing premiere dentistry; now we offer the same high-level dental care with added attention to our patients’ relaxation and comfort, Dr. Tanners said. Here’s his menu:
Plastic Surgery: Dr. Tanners’ practice offers Botox and collagen treatments to reduce wrinkles; a staff plastic surgeon sees patients twice each week.
Massage Therapy: A staff relaxation therapist provides hand and foot massages during procedures to all patients who want them.
Nitrous Oxide: N2O is offered to patients, even for simple procedures such as prophylaxis. Combine this with a massage and music listened to on earphones, and patients get a truly sybaritic experience, according to Dr. Tanners.
Painless Anesthesia: Dr. Tanners uses the Comfort Control System (Dentsply). This computer-driven system expresses warm anesthesia through a bi-beveled needle at an optimum rate into tissue already numbed with a special topical anesthetic for five minutes. It is a virtually painless injection, Dr. Tanners says, and particularly effective for mandibular block injections.
Eyeshades/Earphones/TV: Patients can watch TV, a movie, or listen to their own choice of music through earphones during procedures. Eyeshades further block external stimulation for those who choose to lie back and listen to tunes with their eyes closed.
Soothing Environment: Aromatherapy crystals and scented candles permeate the air so that medicinal smells are minimized. Fresh flowers brighten up every room.
There are no additional fees for the relaxation services Dr. Tanners’ staff provides, he says. Amenities were added to ensure patients would be happy and comfortable. Consultations for Botox and collagen procedures are free; however, the actual treatments are provided at prevailing rates.
Continually searching for more, Dr. Tanners, who has two associates, is seeking larger quarters so that he can add another masseuse, an esthetician, and a product line. Hot towels are coming soon, he promises.
Many dentists don’t realize it, but we’re in a service business. In addition to top quality dentistry, patients want five-star service, he said. Once they engage my services, I’m available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Dr. Tanners gives his home number to patients for emergencies and says he has received fewer than three calls a year. Every night, I call patients who had operative dentistry to see how they’re feeling after the day’s procedure, Dr. Tanners says. I detect problems in their early stages. It takes just a few minutes, but enables me to pick up on little things such as supra occlusion, which can be easily corrected the next day. This helps prevent any serious problems and patients really seem to appreciate this personal attention.
The practice of dentistry is changing in many new and positive ways, according to Dr. Tanners. In addition to receiving quality dentistry, patients want to be catered to and pampered. Apprehensive patients feel they have found a home at my practice.
Dr. Tanners says his dental colleagues offer nothing but encouraging words about his practice and innovative concepts. To naysayers of any kind, Dr. Tanners offers a parting quote from Winston Churchill: The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
’2002 Chicago Dental Society