Podcast: Dental Spas – Addressing Anxiety & Pain with Aromatherapy, Counseling & Anesthetics

Daniel Vinograd

“Hi! This is Dr. Daniel Vinograd. I’m a holistic dentist in San Diego, California.

I like to speak a little bit today about the new trend, which is the dental spa and the emergence of dental spas. I think it’s a result of people moving away from the old paradigm of going to the dentist, having pain and a very unpleasant experience to one where you can actually have a feel good experience where you can feel pampered.

Now, that obviously in my mind is very, very related to dental anxiety. Of course, we all like to feel good. We all like to feel pampered, but a lot of the dental spa experience now is moving away from pain into a more gentle and more pampered experience.

So, the bottom line here is that patients continue to have very negative feelings towards dental offices and dentists in general because of past experiences, because of pain. This created a great deal of resistance to coming to the office.

Obviously, dental anxiety is something that we bring with us because a lot of the early childhood experiences are those of gaining trust from being a fearful child or we just have an existential fear and anxiety, just being part of this challenging world of ours. And when we go to the dentist and we get hurt by somebody who we’re supposed to trust, it really brings all that anxiety and there are a lot of issues of trust that actually come up for the patient.

So again, I think the core of this is moving not so much into the spa for pampering sake as a humanistic type of an experience, but more moving away from the dental anxiety to something that is more pleasant and something that, at the end of experience, not only we were not hurt, but we have some positive feelings and some pampered feelings as well.

As far as the dental spa experience, aside from not hurting patients, which is a number one priority (obviously you can have all the dental spa available to a patient and hurt the patient and then of course all those feeling of fear and anxiety and negativity come rushing back), so step number one is not to hurt the patient. In our office we use quite a number of methods and often we get patients to say, “You know, this is the first time that a dentist doesn’t hurt me. Even when I get numb, I didn’t feel much at all.” And that, in itself, allows you to relax.

And aromatherapy is something that comes into play and we use that in our office as well. Especially some of the essences, the pure essences that tend to relax you. It’s amazing how much our sense of smell has to do with obviously, perceiving danger and as well as with, of course, our sight and any other proprioceptor experiences that we have that we’re equipped with. But using aromatherapy tends to bring a feeling of well being to the patient.

In addition to that, of course, we try to counsel the patient as far as being able to separate past experiences from present experiences, which is key. If you realize that a lot of these anxieties are based on historical experiences and that, even though we can’t get it out of our mind, of people say, “Oh, I tried really hard not to think about those things.” Well, it’s not about not thinking about those things because we’ve been imprinted already. So, no matter how hard you try, it’s like the elephant in the room, it’s going to come right back.

So, it’s not a matter of cutting those experiences that falls out, but to embrace them as just thoughts, narratives, movies that are going to be there, but we can talk to that type of experiences and say, “You know, I understand you are a historical narrative” And we can keep it as a historical narrative that has very little to do with the present moment. Once, we’re able to make that separation, that’s also quite helpful.

In addition to that, of course, a lot of patients now come to cosmetic dentistry and the whitening and so, a lot of those procedures, of course have very little discomfort involved with them. But even when you come for something that requires a little bit more extensive work, the technology is here today so that we really can make a painful experience a thing of the past.

Finally, I think, one of the things that people are beginning to understand is that, merging allopathic medicine, allopathic dentistry with holistic medicine, holistic dentistry with eastern philosophies and eastern modalities of treatment can be a very, very good combination if it’s bridged properly.

As I’ve always said, there’s always been a fight between allopathic and holistic practitioners and that doesn’t have to be that way. If I get run over by a car, I’m not going to go to my herbalist, I’m going to go to emergency care and get an orthopedic surgeon to take care of it. And just as if I have a chronic problem, that allopathic medicine has had very not so much success with, I will definitely look for alternative health modalities which tend to be quiet a bit more successful with that.

So, how do you set that? I think acupuncture has a very important part in the dental practice. And we have actually an acupuncturist that comes in and we can have dentistry done with acupuncture which tends to help on two levels: It reduces any possible sensations of pain, and most importantly, it helps the patient to relax. Coupled with other therapies like massage, soothing reflexology can also be very helpful in creating a dental spa experience.

Once again, this is Dr. Daniel Vinograd. I hope this was helpful to you and I send you all the best. Take care.”

To book an appointment at our San Diego Dental Spa, call (619) 640-5100

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Podcast: Dental Spas - Addressing Anxiety & Pain with Aromatherapy, Counseling & Anesthetics, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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Dr. Daniel Vinograd, DDS |
10450 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92120 |
Phone: 619-630-7174    •    Dr. Vinograd, DDS, is a Dentist in San Diego, CA, offering services as a periodontist, and providing teeth whitening, dental crowns, invisalign, implants, lumineers, dentures, root canals, holistic, family and cosmetic dentistry.


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