New Team Member for the New Year!

We know everyone is ready to say good riddance to 2020 … and at Enlighten Dental Care, we are definitely looking forward to a  New Year that brings less anxiety and more comfort to our friends, family and patients. To that end, we will be bringing a new team member to our practice — a furry friend who won’t be cleaning teeth or filling cavities but will be able help patients who have dental anxiety.  

Enlighten Dental Care is getting a comfort dog! Animal assisted therapy has proven to be successful in many health care settings, and there is a movement toward this trend for dental offices. Therapy animals can lower blood pressure and improve mood, thus providing a less invasive way to reduce anxiety and stress in the dental setting.

In the United States, researchers estimate that up to 80 percent of people experience some form of dental anxiety, and of those, up to 20 percent do not receive routine dental care with between 9 percent and 15 percent avoiding the dentist at all costs. Because animal assisted intervention has been shown to benefit patients in other health care settings, we hope to help patients avoid canceling appointments or certain treatments due to their anxiety. In fact, some studies have identified an increase in oxytocin — a hormone that is associated with lower levels of stress and increased pain thresholds — in conjunction with the use of animal-assisted interventions.

Our therapy dog will be coming from a litter of goldendoodles — a hybrid dog breed born from mixing a poodle with a golden retriever — born at Sheepadoodles of North Carolina in Lewisville. We will choose our pup from the adorable litter on Januay 9. The Enlighten Dental Care team is voting on our top five boy names and top five girl names, which we will be sharing via Facebook and email for our patients to vote on.

Our entire staff will be involved in the intensive training of the therapy dog. Dawn Grider will be the dog’s main handler, and Celeste Lyon will be the back-up handler. Once our new team member is 12 weeks old, he or she will visit the practice a couple of hours a day to become acclimated to the office’s routine, sounds, distractions, etc. That time will gradually be extended as the four-legged team member trains. Once our comfort dog is fully trained, he or she will be allowed in the room with patients if they so desire.

We are so excited about starting the New Year with a new team member! Please make sure you like our Facebook page and watch for our naming contest!

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