SARASOTA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
Dr. Baltasar Jimenez loves his three dogs so much that he brings them with him to his office each day. After his dogs began joining him in the office, Dr. Jimenez quickly became aware of the relaxing effect that his dogs had on his most anxious patients. They now have a new job. They are Beneva Dental's dental therapy dogs.
Armani is an eight-year-old chocolate Labrador. Halston is a four-year-old fox red Labrador. Chanel is a black Papillion puppy. Together, they make up an indispensable dental therapy dog team that helps Dr. Jimenez's patients relax just before their dental appointments.
"I and my staff understand that many of our patients are dealing with fear and anxiety when they come to us. That's why we've created a comfortable and serene environment in our office," explains Dr. Jimenez. "Now, as soon as my patients walk in the door they ask me if my dogs are in the office. I invite them to sit in my private office with the dogs or go out to our beautifully landscaped back yard to play with them."
The Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington estimates that as many as 8% of Americans avoid visits to their dentist out of fear. The clinic also reports that 20% experience enough anxiety that they will only visit their dentist when it is absolutely necessary.
Dental fear is not entirely irrational. People bring their personal phobias and negative life experiences with them into a very intimate environment. They are in a vulnerable position and unable to speak while lying back in a chair with the dentist hovering above them.
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