A Doggie Dental Assistant?

A Doggie Dental Assistant?

When the term “canine” is mentioned in a dental office, it typically refers to the pointed cuspid teeth in a patient’s mouth, but one dentist’s office in Minnesota is taking that label to the next level by quite literally going to the dogs — or at least, to one dog in particular. Applewood Family Dental in Woodbury, Minnesota, has a new dental assistant on board, and she’s got four legs, a cold, wet nose and silky fur all over her body.

Molly is a five-year-old cocker spaniel and a registered therapy dog that the Applewood clinic makes available free of charge to patients who are nervous about their dental visit and who would like a soothing pet to calm their nerves. Basically, Molly, who belongs to office manager Mary Reck, climbs into the lap of a patient who has a touch of dental phobia and simply lies down and relaxes during the exam or procedure, allowing the patient to stroke her and absorb her soothing vibrations. Much in the same way that some offices offer TVs to distract or calm people in the examination chair, Molly has become a valuable tool for dental assistants struggling to help patients deal with a fear of the dentist. In fact, some patients have reportedly turned down painkillers in favor of her soft touch.

Molly has been working as a therapy dog since 2012, although her services aren’t limited to the dentist’s office (She also works in women’s shelters and libraries.). She comes into the office only when someone makes an appointment requesting she be there. She’s available to patients of all ages, but so far, adults — not children — have been the most likely to call upon her special talents.

Besides the usefulness of having a registered therapy dog around, a dog like Molly can make for a great publicity tool to drawn in new patients — especially those who have been reluctant to have their teeth checked for years and might ben enticed by a cute doggy face. Molly even has her own Facebook page, with a couple hundred likes.

(Sources: MyFox9.com, Applewood Family Dental, Facebook)