CLEVELAND — Dr. Chris Theodorou, the owner Strongsville Dental & Laser Aesthetics, was looking for ways to help ease his patients anxiety surrounding dental appointments.

What You Need To Know

  • Strongsville Dental & Laser Aesthetics has two therapy dogs on staff 

  • The dogs provide support for nervous patients 

  • The doctor said therapy dogs have clinically proven calming effects 

“About 5 years ago I wanted to do something different for my patients, especially the patients who who were very phobic of the dentist, had fears coming into the dental office," he said.

That's where Laser the golden-doodle comes in. He is one of two therapy dogs in the office who helps patients overcome their fear of the dentist. 

“The dog, I mean if you see his positioning, he just really sucks up the energy, and he really knows that the patient is phobic,” Theodorou said. ”He will stay with them until we are done with the procedure, and it is almost immediate, he knows when the procedure is done he’ll just pop up.”

The doctor said the dogs can provide an alternative to sedation for nervous patients. 

“It’s clinically proven that when a patient is petting a dog and the dog is playing with the patient, or sitting on a patient, it decreases their heart rate, it decreases high blood pressure,” he said.

Beth Malloy is a patient at Strongsville Dental & Laser Aesthetics. She said the dogs have made her trips to the dentist much more relaxing. 

“I mean you can just sit here all day, and I don’t even pay attention to what is going on in my mouth,” Malloy said.

It might come as a surprise, but Theodorou said more adults request the dogs during their appointments than children do. 

“The kids really don’t need it, because let's face it: dentistry has changed,” The doctor said. “The younger generation now has had good dentists that don’t instill fear so it's the adults who actually need the comforting because the adults are the ones that were traumatized as children years ago.”

The therapy dogs don’t work everyday, so if you want an appointment with them you have to request them.

“Other patients who don’t have appointments sometimes will just stop in and give them a treat and say hello,” he said.