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Welcome to the Beach

Aug. 1, 2018
Janice Cannella, RDH, adds a beach theme to a Richmond, Va., dental practice.

Virginia hygienist believes stressed-out patients relax better when Jimmy Buffett songs are playing

Richmond, Virginia, is more than a two-hour drive from the famous beaches at Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The state capitol is better known for its central location along the James River. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a beach in Richmond.

A neighborhood called Lakeside is on the north side of downtown. In 2012, the Richmond Times-Dispatch responded to a reader’s query, “Why is the neighborhood called Lakeside when there’s no lake?” The newspaper reported that a bicycle club dammed a creek at an “old mill pond” in 1895 to create a lake. Some Americans may insist that the lake is a pond.

A jellyfish lamp attract the attention of many patients.

But along Lakeside Avenue is Lakeside Family Dentistry, and inside the practice a beach can be found.

While Drs. David Circeo and Zaid Alsamir leaned toward other types of memorabilia for their operatories, they encouraged Janice Cannella to develop her own style for her operatory when she arrived two years ago. She chose the beach.

“My boss told me to do whatever I wanted to make my operatory my place. So I did,” Cannella says. “Thanks to my sons for giving me gifts for my operatory, I have turned it into a place that patients don’t want to leave. I covered the harsh lights with clouds and play Jimmy Buffett. I have jellyfish swimming, palm trees, and all of my beach-themed decorations.”

A light diffuser brings the clouds into the operatory.

She said her oldest son works on yachts in his spare time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and both sons are avid fishermen. “They have been on a boat from birth!”

Beaches hold a special place in Cannella’s heart, and she wanted to create a refuge from the city that surrounds the Virginia city.

“The beach to me is the most beautiful place on earth,” she says. “It’s hard to feel stressed at the beach! In the past, patients would come in stressed from traffic or work, and the television constantly had politics and horrible news.

Janice Cannella, RDH.

“The biggest change to my operatory was to mute the television. What I changed to was playing Jimmy Buffet, but softly. I felt patients were stressed with politics and news, so I don’t want that in my operatory.”

The musician who has referred to his songs as “drunken Caribbean rock ‘n’ roll” would likely approve of the décor. Cannella said “Margaritaville” and “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” are popular songs among the dental patients.

“I catch my patients singing to Jimmy Buffett’s songs a lot,” she says. “It’s very hard not to be happy while listening to Jimmy Buffett.”

Dr. David Circeo encouraged Cannella to decorate her operatory. As you can see, the doctor has pop art in his.

Cannella, a graduate of Allegany College of Maryland, does have dental equipment and supplies in her operatory. She says, for example, that the office recently added an intraoral camera (Daryou) to her operatory.

“The biggest change in our office was finally getting an intraoral camera,” she said. “This is a necessary piece of equipment for educating patients, as well as for having insurance companies see what we see. X-rays are not enough.”

After treatment, she will use MI Paste (GC America) for patients who complain of sensitivity. She said, “I use MI Paste on patients with sensitivity by polishing it on after a prophy and recommending they purchase and use it at home. It works amazingly well! I work that into my patient education, teaching them what has worked for me personally and what has worked for other patients.”

The dental practice also started dispensing Crest Whitestrips throughout the practice after Cannella received samples from the Crest + Oral-B Hygienist Proud program. “We are going to start incorporating them in our office because there is no downtime or making of trays.” She also dispenses Oral-B’s Glide floss to patients.