This is a feel-good place that means business when it says, `Feel good.`
Mark Hartley, Editor
Since I read several dental journals each month, I`m aware of the "frills" offered in offices. The frills supposedly say one of three things to patients: I`m on the cutting edge, so bow low when you walk in; I want this extraction without anesthesia to be fun for you, so you just plan on having as good of a time as you would in an amusement park; or howdy, neighbor, our home is your home.
My dentist`s office offers some of the frills mentioned in the journals, but I would not label the office as being extravagant. One thing lacking at Doc`s office is a sensory assault on the nostrils. Personally, that`s OK with me. Odors transport me to heavenly places a limited number of times. The southeast corner of Southern Methodist University, where I went to college, was within smelling distance of a bread factory. Waco`s Franklin Avenue, which was overwhelmed by the sweet smell of a bread factory late at night, was a pleasant drive when I had to file articles (pre-Internet era). When the north wind blows over PennWell, RDH`s home sweet home, the smell of a bread factory two blocks away makes taking the coffee break outside a worthwhile endeavor.
I`ve had a lot of experience in being in close proximity to bread factories. The difference between a bread factory and a bakery is the difference between an invader`s conquests and a skirmish. Bread factories titillate the nostrils over a region comprising several city blocks.
Unless bread is piping hot and right out of the oven, I`m not overly crazy about the taste. I would be in favor, though, of hygiene operatories smelling like bread factories.
The South Valley Center for Cosmetic Dentistry offers the frill of aromatherapy, but it doesn`t smell like a bread factory. Instead of an odor, what captivated my immediate attention about this San Jose, Calif., practice was something visual - the ability to watch TV on a computer screen. Since the office was closed for the Preventive Practice of the Year Award presentation, I watched Gilligan`s Island on the computer screen for a few minutes. This is a novelty for RDH magazine, since, in Oklahoma, we`re still trying to figure out how to turn computers on. These California patients, though, just walk up to this computer/TV and catch up on e-mail, browse the Internet, watch educational programming, or, as the last patient attempted to do on that day, refresh his or her memory about Gilligan`s ordeals.
The frills are everywhere here. As its name implies, this practice emphasizes cosmetic dentistry. These frills are pretty common to upscale dental boutiques, as some consultants call them. As any fool knows, though, cosmetic dentistry crashes and burns without the foundation of preventive dentistry. It takes only four or five steps alongside a hygienist to figure out why South Valley Center for Cosmetic Dentistry won the Preventive Practice of the Year Award.
As you listen, you quickly realize that preventive dentistry is all about the heart, a frill money can`t buy. This is a feel-good place that means business when it says, "Feel good." Every single ounce of positive energy is expended toward better health. If I had any doubts at all about watching a few minutes of Gilligan`s Island in San Jose, Calif., they were quickly dispelled after a few minutes of careening between staff members who so persistently and joyously pursue good oral health.
They could have asked me to smell the bread baking, and I would have smelled it. It wasn`t quite hypnotism, but it was an assault of compassion and earnestness combined. It`s one thing to be friendly and chatty. It`s another thing to stubbornly lay down the laws of oral hygiene. It`s a miracle, however, to do both simultaneously.
Kudos to the Levin Group and its judges for picking a winner. The judges apparently had a tough time choosing. So it`s good news that more than one dental practice is rocking along with the very best that preventive dentistry has to offer. Kudos to Optiva Corp. for sponsoring this effort to promote oral hygiene at its best. But, most of all, kudos to South Valley Center for Cosmetic Dentistry for demonstrating the best frill of all, a good heart.
Editor Mark Hartley can be contacted at [email protected]