Vito Is Here To Help

Treatment chairs, dental instruments and staff members wearing scrubs are three things patients have long expected to see at a cosmetic dentist’s practice, but dogs such as Vito, Dr. Carol Ford’s Golden Retriever, are a relatively new sight at the office. Vito, who has been trained as a Power Paws Assistance Dog, is a more recent addition to Dr. Ford’s office, but he is still regarded by this cosmetic dentist and her staff as a key part of their treatment team.

One of the primary ways Vito helps out at the office is by helping patients lower their dental anxiety. Research is demonstrating that therapy and assistance dogs such as Vito can provide a host of positive benefits for a cosmetic dentist’s patients, including lowering blood pressure and anxiety levels and boosting their level of endorphins and oxytocin. This can help patients experience a dental procedure with less stress and greater comfort.

Several specific situations in which Vito has helped a patient at Dr. Ford’s office include:

  • A patient who was apprehensive about dental treatment due to a past bad experience or trauma.
  • A patient who was experiencing a high level of stress in their daily life.
  • A patient who was committed to getting needed dental procedures done, but who experienced such a high level of anxiety that it was difficult for them to complete the entire procedure.

More and more people are receiving help from therapy/assistance dogs in a variety of situations – everything from coping with PTSD symptoms and helping the visually or hearing impaired to providing help to those who have seizures or other urgent medical conditions,” says Dr. Ford, who as a cosmetic dentist maintains a practice in the Biltmore neighborhood of central Phoenix. “Vito is our go-to ‘staff member’ who is dedicated to helping all patients who interact with him feel calmer, happier and more relaxed.”

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