Suffolk Dental Service Introduces Pet Therapy Pilot
Community dentists in Suffolk are introducing a new service for anxious patients. Basil, a six year old Beagle, is the latest recruit to the CDS-CIC team and will provide pet therapy on a one- to- one basis for anxious patients, where this will assist them with their treatment. It is the first dental pet therapy service in Suffolk and possibly the UK.
CDS-CIC, who operate eight clinics across Suffolk, are starting a pilot of the pet therapy programme in selected locations and identifying patients who may benefit from being accompanied by Basil during their treatments.
Pet therapy animals are pets trained to provide affection and comfort to people in a variety of settings. Therapy pets help calm patients and may reduce anxiety in children and adults with dental phobias. Basil will meet the patient in the waiting room and then accompany them for their treatment in the chair, providing comfort, companionship and a distraction during their treatment.
CDS Senior Dental Nurse, Jacci Plant, who is Basil's owner, had the idea to train as a pet therapy practitioner: "Pet therapy is something I have always been interested in and I knew Basil has the ideal temperament to make a fantastic therapy dog because of his wonderful calm nature around people and his friendly personality. I also knew that pet therapy worked well in other clinical settings or where people have additional needs such as mental health issues or learning disabilities. CDS supported me to source and follow a suitable course and 18 months later I am a qualified Animal Assisted Practitioner. We are now working to identify patients where pet therapy may help them with their treatment and offer it to them as an option."
Amy Schiller, Operations Director for CDS said: "We provide special care and paediatric dentistry and many of our patients, adults and children, have additional needs or severe dental anxiety and may require extensive treatment. Reducing anxiety is very important and Basil will be one technique we can use to help patients relax and feel more comfortable about having treatment. Overall this is important, because with some patients it may make all the difference between being able to tolerate treatment without more invasive means such as sedation."
CDS is an employee owned social enterprise and provides special care and paediatric dentistry for the NHS across much of central and eastern England. 70% of patients have additional needs and may experience significant anxiety at the prospect of dental examinations and treatment.
For more information, please contact Brigit Parker on 07468 340372 or by email Brigit.firstname.lastname@example.org
CDS is an employee owned social enterprise and provides paediatric and special care dentistry across central and eastern England.