Open Wide and Relax -- Really!
From movies to massages -- pampering at the dentist's office is becoming more popular.
The American Dental Association is aware of boutique clinics,
but has not issued an official statement on the topic.
One of the group's consumer advisers, Kimberly Harms, DDS, says
the ADA's primary concern is that patients get the best oral healthcare
possible. As long as the professionals involved are appropriately licensed, and
everyone adheres to local and regional laws, the ADA sees no problem with it,
and leaves such decisions to the individual dentist.
Harms should know. She is Susan Barnes' dentist, and since the
installation of spa-like features in her office, business has tripled. She has
been practicing this type of dentistry for almost a decade, however, and
hesitantly admits to being ahead of the curve. "I just thought of how I
would want to be treated as a patient," she says.
When asked whether the cost of spa-like services affects her
dental fees, Harms says her family keeps up the office and gardens so there has
not been much overhead to pass along to patients. Her situation may be unique,
she confesses, adding that, "Typically, you get what you pay for."
At some new boutique dental offices, that may mean a foot
massage during a cleaning, a consultation with a plastic surgeon about getting
Botox injections, cookies and a smile to go.