Women’s Health & Fitness, December 2005
Checking In to a ‘Dental Spa’
If you‘re a scaredy cat when it comes to going to the dentist, new technologies at a ‗dental spa‘ near you can de-stress your experience.
I found myself surrounded by mosaics and fountains featuring
Bottichelli‘s Venus as I relaxed in an ergonomically-correct dental chair watching my own television monitor, perfectly positioned overhead.
The strange thing about this moment of comfort is that I had just had
cavity fillings done painlessly with a laser; I was calmly awaiting my
permanent crown, which a supermodel-looking technician in a glass
room across the hall milled carefully. An assistant handed me a cup of
my favorite herb tea and a cozy chenille blanket. ―Just relax for about
10 minutes and your crown will be ready,‖ she assured.
It was then that I knew what was meant by the label ‗dental spa‘.
At first I‘d thought I‘d be treated to a massage or facial to help me
recover from drill-induced trauma. But I realized the real foundation of
a dental spa is marked by vast improvement in service and technology.
The spa-like perks don‘t hurt either.
Spa-Like Service & Pain-free Technology
―I thought it was time to bring dentistry out of the dark ages,‖
said Dr. Shawn Gurley, D.D.S, of his vision to provide a spa-like
environment at the dentist‘s office. Beyond the gorgeous décor, this
dentist‘s quest for the best technology to eliminate pain and
inconvenience launched what might have been the original dental spa.
Now, six years later, he numbs my tooth with a sci-fi looking unit
called WaterlaseMD? and performs my dental work with no drill, no pain, and no shot. My lunch meeting would not have gone so well if
I'd been drooling all over myself, trying to converse through a numb
Modern dental offices across the country are following the
business model of the medical spa: ―Superior service, technology, and
comfort in a beautiful environment,‖ as defined by Dr. Gurley. At the
Laser Dental Center in Laguna Hills, California, Dr. Payam Ataii, D.D.S. also relies on the laser, not a massage, to offer comfort in the dentist‘s
chair. Though his state-of-the-art facility is relaxing and comfortable,
the luxury most appreciated by Dr. Ataii‘s patients is avoidance of pain.
―I use the laser for almost every procedure in this office,‖ states Dr.
Foothills Dental Spa in Denver, Colorado also feels more like an escape – stone fireplaces and water fountains greet you as you enter
the lobby. After each treatment, patients are treated to hot, moist
towels scented with eucalyptus. But when it comes to comfort and
quality, the latest Biolase? laser is reins supreme at the dental spa.
In the beginning, laser dentists typically needed a different laser
for different types of procedures; one dentist may have the laser for
crown-lengthening (fixing a gummy smile), but any other dental need
would require a drill. Another may have a laser for fillings, but not
that nasty gum infection that must be taken care of. ―Now we have
WaterlaseMD?, a computerized laser that does all types of procedures
and with more precision than its predecessors,‖ explains Dr. Gurley.
The High Tech Scoop
First, low amounts of laser energy are used to numb the tooth,
then, the highly-targeted laser light is absorbed by the decay, so no
trace is left in your mouth. The fine particles of the water spray
hydrate and cool the tooth‘s surface as the laser operates with no
bleeding (instantly sealing blood vessels).
Dental Spa pioneer Dr. Gurley created my crown on a state-of-
the-art, computerized CEREC? machine. As comfy as I am in this spa-like environment, I prefer not to have to come back soon – taking on
the literary world awaits! CEREC? milling unit, which (at press time) 5% of dentists nationwide offer, provides unprecedented efficiency for
technicians, which translates into ultimate convenience for me —I get
everything I need done in one trip; there is no need for annoying
temporaries. With the convenience of this CEREC? system, Dr. Gurley
and his supermodel lab technician, Tracie Francis, were able to send
me on my way with a permanent crown an hour later! Moral of the
story: Find a dentist with CEREC? and crowns or even veneers can be done while you wait in the dental spa.
The High Tech Scoop
The dentist prepares the tooth that needs a crown and takes a
digital picture of it. This is transferred to the CEREC? 3D software and
converted into a virtual model. Within a few clicks of a button, the
dentist manipulates the image to form a perfect fit. Then, the dental
tech mills the ceramic, designs, color matches, and glazes the crown.
Ten to 20 minutes later, the dentist bonds it place and sends you out
into the world of soy tacos and carrot sticks . . . maybe after your on-
site paraffin hand treatment.
According to Dental Tech Tracie Francis of North Atlanta
Aesthetic Dentistry, face-to-face interaction with an on-site lab
tech ensures each unique crown perfectly fits the individual
needs of the patient and expert recommendations of the
dentist (as opposed to having your crown created over the next
two weeks by a far-away lab – how passé).
Hi-Tech Dental Spas Across the Country
North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry
Dr. Shawn Gurley, D.D.S.
4165 Old Milton Pkwy. Suite 140
Alpharetta, Georgia 30005
? Spa setting
? CEREC? Crowns and Innovative Aesthetic Solutions lab
? Zoom!2 teeth whitening
Maharukh Kravich, D.D.S., F.A.G.D.
30 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1824
Chicago, IL 60602
? Spokesdentist for Academy of General Dentistry
Foothills Dental Spa
Dr. David Bennett, D.D.S.
16205 64th Avenue, Suite 200
Arvada, Colorado 80007
? Laser technology
? Massage therapy room
? CEREC? Crowns and complete on-site laboratory
Laser Dental Center
Dr. Payam Ataii, D.D.S.
24881 Alicia Parkway, Suite H
? YAG laser technology
? Invisalign, undetetable teeth alignment
? Facial cosmetic procedures (Botox, Restalyn)
Dr. Allen Berry, D.D.S.
16940 SW 94th Court
Miami, FL 33157
? Garden setting; no wait service
? CEREC? Crowns and Onsite lab
? Waterlase? (original model)
Dr. Larry Rosenthal, D.D.S.
The Rosenthal Group
30 East 76th Street Suite 5B
New York City, NY 10021
? Client comfort selections for music and/or movie, candle sent,
? Argon Laser teeth whitening