Rescue dog eases dental patients' fears

2010 10 26 10 46 56 746 2010 10 26 Dentaldog

A father-daughter dental team in Southern California has made a unique addition to their practice in an effort to ease their patients' anxieties: Mona Lisa, the "dental therapy dog."

John Taddey, D.D.S., settled in La Jolla in 1974 and has practiced in the seaside town for more than 25 years. His daughter Tracy recently joined his practice, bringing Mona Lisa with her.

Drs. John and Tracy Taddey with Mona Lisa, the dental therapy dog. Image courtesy of Dr. Taddey.Drs. John and Tracy Taddey with Mona Lisa, the dental therapy dog. Image courtesy of Dr. Taddey.
Drs. John and Tracy Taddey with Mona Lisa, the dental therapy dog. Image courtesy of Dr. Taddey.

A rescue dog from the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, Mona Lisa helps to alleviate patients' anxiety about dental procedures and adds a loving touch to each visit, the doctors explained in a press release. Once the doctors and their patients have had a chance to talk and discuss their treatment plan, patients can request that Mona Lisa join them in the treatment room to provide her special brand of therapy.

"She makes people feel more relaxed," Tracy said. "She just curls up into a little doughnut on a patient's lap and falls asleep. You'd think the sound of the drill would scare her, but it doesn't."

"Things are constantly changing in the dental field," John added. "The addition of Mona is just one of these exciting changes."

John is a New York University College of Dentistry graduate, while Tracy obtained her doctor of dental surgery degree from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry.

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