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Westin Hotel, 909 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Everyone wants a crystal ball.
What will I be doing in a year? How will traffic be tomorrow? Where is the profession of dentistry headed? What’s for dinner?
No one can offer sure-fire predictions, but experts from all walks of life – dentistry too – boldly peer into the future to give us a hint of what’s coming. Dave Love of Patterson Dental Canada takes a stab with his look at future office design trends that focus on a clean look to better incorporate new technology and equipment. One trend on his list? The dental spa.
Well, you have to go back 12 years to get a glimpse of that future. In 2002 The Hills Dental Spa opened in Austin, TX, where the “outside-the-box” dreams of a dentist-wife team to offer more than a routine dental visit took hold.
“It was eye-opening to leave dental school and have a skill and a way to help people improve their health, only to find out that everyone hates going to the dentist,” remembers Benjamin Nemec. After polling friends and family about their attitudes toward dentists, he and his wife, Amie, devised the concept of coupling dental and spa services in a sleek, relaxing and comfortable environment.
“An atmosphere that reflects a day spa or a luxury hotel lobby instead of a doctor’s office can go a long way towards putting a nervous patient at ease,” Dr. Nemec said.
The Hills Dental Spa, which just recently expanded, has a full range of dental services, including restorative and cosmetic dentistry. About 70 percent of patients also use the spa services like body and foot massages and facials provided by a massage therapist. New patients receive a free massage; existing patients can have hand or foot massages during their dental appointment.
“It’s a great way to help the patients relax when they are having their cleaning done or a cavity filled,” Dr. Nemec said.
Dental concierge Amie Nemec says the practice offers weekly email specials and Facebook discounts to patients looking for a little pampering. For those who use the spa services only, they “typically become a dental patient in time,” she added.
The Nemecs and their staff believe “the general opinion of dentists and dentistry can be changed by simply improving the dentists and the dental practices,” Amie explained.
“The technology is here – we can take better care of our patients, make their smiles healthier, their teeth last longer, do treatments pain-free, make the patient happier. We have the ability to do that now. So why don’t we also improve the environment in which these services are provided?
“Take a cue from the places that our patients like to go – places like the day spa or hair salon or resort hotel. Visit a spa yourself and pick out the things you like there and take it back to the design of your own dental practice.”
While a dental spa may not be a venture for a dentist in mid- or late-career, the groundbreaking concept could have appeal for younger dentists breaking in and looking for a different vibe.
A tradition of working for the dental profession. The Chicago Dental Society was organized in 1864 and incorporated in 1878. The objective of the Chicago Dental Society is to encourage the improvement of the health of the public, to promote the art and science of dentistry and to represent the intrest of the members of the profession and the public that it serves.
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