It’s certainly not uncommon for patients of even the most family friendly dentists to feel some sort of anxiety or nervousness about professional dental cleanings.
In fact, it has been found that 15% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety, which is a recognized phobia. That’s almost one in five people! Those who have a phobia of visiting the local dentist office deal with symptoms much more serious and intense than sweaty palms when sitting in the dentist’s chair. In many cases, these people will even refuse to get the dental check-ups they need.
To help its patients who have this dental phobia and give them an alternative to sedation, InHarmony Dental Care, a clinic in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, has invited two therapy dogs to help calm down anxious patients.
Gryphon and Rigby, two Old English sheepdog and poodle crossbreeds, have become a friendly presence in the clinic’s waiting room. As trained therapy dogs, they know how to read people’s energies and help calm those who are sending out high-stress signals, according to CBC News.
Dr. Kate Darrach-Cottick, one of the dentists at InHarmony Dental Care, said Gryphon and Rigby possess a trait that all sheepdogs have — the ability to differentiate the energy that a running herd of animals emits and their own. This made them the perfect candidates to become therapy dogs.
If an anxious patient comes in, Darrach-Cottick said she simply tells the dogs to “go to work” — at which point they both go to sit by the patient as he or she sits in the waiting room, CBC News reports.
“They may both put their heads on your lap and you would feel the weight of them,” she said. “They offer that sense of grounding.”
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