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As Much Fun as Pulling Teeth

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Knowing that fear and anxiety make many people put off going to the dentist unless they have to, dentists follow stress reduction protocols, such as working slowly and communicating with anxious patients. McKenna Family Dentistry, in Palo Alto, Calif., has discovered a way to avoid stress in the first place: distract the client with movies.

"More than 85% of our customers use the VCR and cordless headset when they need fillings or other longer dental procedures," says Judi McKenna-Edwards, hygienist and office manager. "We have a big selection of kids' videos, hit movies, and TV comedies without the commercials. Customers love the videos - time goes by faster, and they enjoy themselves." The two dentists also like the videos - the distraction relaxes the patients and keeps them still, so the dentist can concentrate on the dental procedure.

Entertainment is also good for business. According to McKenna-Edwards, 98% of new customers are referrals, and many mention the movies. Patients from all over the country - Nevada, Texas, New York, and Boston - regularly visit the practice when they are in town on business. Some even make special trips.

McKenna-Edwards has received one complaint: One patient, with particularly good teeth, is disappointed because he has never been in the chair long enough to see a show.




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