sweet smell of baking bread floats through the air
of an American Fork office early Wednesday morning.
Anna Jackson reclines in a heated massage chair,
a warm fleece blanket draped over her as her hands
rest in wax-treatment bags.
No, the mother of six didn't
hire a baby sitter so she could go to the day
spa. She's at the dentist's office getting her
"I thought, 'Finally, there's
something good out of all the dentistry,' "
Jackson said after her visit, her third since
moving to Utah from Illinois in December. Jackson
said she is getting ready to have some major work
done on her teeth.
Total Care Dental is one of
a handful of dentist offices in Utah County that
incorporate spa-like pampering into the dental
treatment experience. Though the concept is slower
to catch on in this area than in other parts of
the country, spa dentistry is growing in popularity,
said Dr. Michelle Jorgensen.
"It's the 'in' thing in
dentistry," she said.
Critics say dentists should
focus on taking care of teeth and not on "all
this fancy stuff," Jorgensen said. But she,
and others, see a number of advantages to spa
For one thing, Jorgensen said,
patients who have experienced spa dentistry are
more relaxed and less anxious about returning
to the dentist.
Because of this, some patients
come in before their dental problems reach a crisis,
such as a painful toothache, an abscess or a tooth
that is broken so severely that the patient can't
wait any longer to get it fixed, Jorgensen said.
Dr. John Lohner, who has two
offices in Utah County with spa dentistry, said
that with his clients more relaxed, his job is
also more enjoyable.
"Believe it or not, we
are sensitive to our patients. ... We don't like
the label of being an awful place. We care about
people," he said.
Through spa dentistry, Lohner
said he can give his patients more one-on-one
attention. But it does carry with it some costs.
Lohner used to have up to six
patients in his office at one time, treating them
in what he calls an assembly-line fashion. He
can't do that now, which has led to increased
fees. It costs him more to offer the little extras
and, in some ways, costs him some potential business.
"Some patients don't want
to pay extra for that comfort," Lohner said.
But the patients who have come
to his office throughout the past two years that
he has offered amenities like massage chairs and
warm towels have loved the spa experience, he
said. He is thinking of adding more pampering
services, such as pedicures.
Jorgensen and her partner, Dr.
Daniel B. Coles, who is also her father, have
been doing spa dentistry for about three years,
slowly adding more amenities to make their patients'
visits more comfortable.
Now, while a patient gets a
filling or a drilling, he or she can rest with
a lavender neck pillow and gel mask and perhaps
watch a newly released movie on a personal flat-screen
television mounted overhead.
After the dentist is finished,
each patient is given a stick of lip balm and
a mint, a washcloth and a basket with dental care
In the bathroom are cosmetic,
perfume and hair-product samples for "freshening
up," said Margot Green, treatment coordinator
at Total Care Dental.
Before they leave, patients
are offered a sample of freshly baked bread or
cookies, hot chocolate, juice or cold water. Green
said the staff member who bakes the bread has
a food handlers permit.
The fresh flowers and small
water fountain in the front lobby also add to
the effect the staff has tried to create, Green
"You smell bread and cookies.
It's all aromatherapy -- it makes you feel comfortable,
at home," she said.
The pampering of patients hasn't
drawn in a larger crowd at either Jorgensen's
or Lohner's office.
But Jorgensen said that
by making a patient's day better -- like the mother
who asks them to take their time because it's
her one chance to relax that day -- makes every
penny worth it, she said.
12 S 1100 E
American Fork, UT 84003-2815
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