Kids are not the only ones who are afraid of going to the dentist; adults can be just as fearful. In fact, nearly one in three Americans have dental anxiety and fear.
One dentist in New York City has hired a new employee whose only job is to comfort these patients who might be feeling anxious and scared.
Luna is a spaniel-mix trained therapy dog who helps ease the fears of Dr. Carlos Huerta’s patients while they’re in the dental chair at The Dental Boutique. She improves their dental experience and makes their visits as pain-free and relaxing as possible.
Luna starts off by snuggling with patients and getting them to play fetch with her favorite toys while they’re in the waiting room, so that by the time the patient is called into the treatment room, they are already feeling more at ease.
“Luna has become an intrinsic part of treatment at The Dental Boutique,” Dr. Huerta said. “During treatment, she lies down in the patient’s lap, and doesn’t move until the end of the appointment, undisturbed by the sounds of dentistry. She knows when the x-ray apron comes out that she must leave the room, and returns when she hears it being put away.”
Studies show that interacting with animals helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower the stress hormone: cortisol, release ‘feel-good’ hormones: serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and eases fear and anxiety.
Hear more of how Luna helps patients in the video below: