Creating the New Face of Dentistry: Dental Spas

Dentistry Today


The face of dentistry is changing from smile makeover to entire face makeover. The fusion of cosmetic dentistry with aesthetic facial treatments achieves maximum client and practice benefits. Today’s appearance-minded society is providing opportunities for dentists to appeal to their patients’ desire for both wellness and beauty.
Dental practices are expanding the level of aesthetic/cosmetic treatments from just the smile to the whole face to create a kinder, gentler feeling regarding dentistry. Most of these practices are attempting to allay many dental patients’ fears by providing a soothing atmosphere along with hot paraffin wax treatments and massages. However, as these spa-like amenities are working, the term “dental spa” sometimes is misunderstood. It’s not about clients walking around in robes, but more about providing aesthetic enhancement treatment procedures in addition to quality dentistry.


(1) Pampering: providing aromatherapy, hand massages, and hand towels,
(2) Therapeutic: providing massages, facials, and manicures,
(3) Rejuvenation Spa Dentistry: providing skin care, elos therapy (electro-optical synergy), as well as skin tightening and acne treatments, microdermabrasion, skin rejuvenation, and Botox.

In concert, all 3 of the Dental Spa concepts will benefit your patients and your practice.
The New Face of Dentistry program has been created by Syneron, a company that manufactures the new LiteTouch Dental Laser and patented aesthetic devices. The company works closely with dentists to facilitate the fusion of cosmetic dentistry with non-invasive aesthetic facial treatments to create client and practice benefits. The company provides business counsel to dentists looking to expand into facial aesthetics, as well as a product line created specifically for dentists.
A survey conducted by the ADA found that while many dentists offer perks like headphones or warm towels to their patients, more than 5% now feature massages, facials, or manicures. The spa dentistry concept is rapidly growing, fueled by demand for additional aesthetic procedures for the entire face, not just the teeth. The facial aesthetic procedures are not performed by the dentist but by licensed aestheticians or other healthcare professionals. Providing spa-type aesthetic procedures is a convenience for patients who want to receive these enhancements in a facility that they know and trust; it also represents a great opportunity for dentists.
Syneron’s dental partners, such as Dr.  Thomas Adams and Drs. Nalin and Arpan Patel, all of whom are featured in this article, have the ability to provide more services to their patients with aesthetic devices. With these new services, dentists can fundamentally change their patients’ experiences in the office, from stress and anxiety to anticipation and relaxation.


From general dentistry to the latest microdermabrasion techniques, today’s dental spas are creating a one-stop health and beauty experience for the patient who has limited time and is looking for convenience in a pleasing and soothing atmosphere. Dentistry has been growing in the cosmetic realm through services like whitening and veneers. In a recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, aesthetic/cosmetic services provided in dental offices grew an average of 12.5% in the past 5 years. Now, cosmetic dentistry is naturally evolving to include spa treatments. Cosmetic dentistry and spa amenities are prime examples of avenues that people will turn to in order to look their best and feel their best. Beauty and wellness are closely linked, and people are looking for solutions on how best to address these issues. Offering additional services provides the ultimate dental experience.
I started Spa32 in 2004 after seeing similar developments in Europe while vacationing. There, I observed private outpatient centers merging with sparelated services for the wealthy and elite of Europe. Birthing centers were creating a more comfortable atmosphere by changing lighting, adding amenities, and offering spa treatments after childbirth. I was certain the concept could carry over to dentistry. The added benefit is an opportunity to create less of a clinical setting and a more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
When developing the concepts for our dental spa, our first challenge was the name. To enhance the spa experience, we intentionally did not mention dental in the name of the business. Spa32, which is a registered trademark, indirectly relates to dentistry because the mouth has 32 teeth. Spa32 is also named for the address at 832 West Adams Street.
Creating a name for your dental spa is important, because customers do not walk down the street, see a dental spa, and instantly think of getting microdermabrasion. You need to have the correct balance of dental and spa, depending on what you consider to be the main focus. I have seen many of my colleagues blend as well as differentiate their dental office from their spa. It’s all about creating the right atmosphere and the right expectations.
We have found that Spa32 patients are comfortable coming in for a variety of services, and when someone walks in the door, others are not judging to see if the patient is there for a cellulite treatment or dentistry. Spa32 offers a blend of dentistry, medicine, and body wellness. The staff includes various specialists, including Dr. Paul Petrungaro, who focuses on periodontics and implantology. Other doctors affiliated with Spa32 are chiropractors and plastic surgeons. Services offered by Spa32 oral physicians are cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, implants, oral surgery, general dentistry, and more. We provide an extensive list of spa services that combine the use of Syneron elos technology such as VelaSmooth cellulite reduction therapy, skin rejuvenation, and microdermabrasion. The spa incorporates the latest technologies in dentistry including digital radiography, lasers, comfortable chairs, veneers, and implantology, along with a dental team that is dedicated to creating a soothing atmosphere for patients.
We also offer an oxygen bar with 32 aromas, all part of offering services that our customers demand and deserve.
Since opening 2 years ago, business has doubled each year. Dental patients who come in for an appointment say they don’t want to return to a dental office that has a clinical setting. Others who come in for spa treatments love the idea of dental services to continue the self-improvement process.
The key to having a successful medical/dental spa is letting patients know that dentistry is not just about mouth care, but also care and improvement of the face. Photo-rejuvenation, Botox (Allergan), and Restylane
(Q-Med) are great adjuncts that complement a makeover with crowns and implants.
Dental spas and medical spas take traditional spas to another level, offering image-enhancing procedures traditionally performed elsewhere, such as laser hair removal and IPL photo-rejuvenation. Noninvasive aesthetic treatments are performed by licensed aestheticians, licensed massage therapists, and registered nurses; dental services are under the care of doctors of dental surgery. (A medical aesthetician is a paramedical who is educated and certified to provide noninvasive aesthetic treatments, is state-licensed, and performs treatments such as facials, skin care, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, and photofacials.)

Figure 1. Entrance to Spa32.

Figure 2. Spa32 reception area.

Figure 3. Spa32 bathroom.

Figure 4. Spa32 treatment room.

Dental spas provide options for more than a smile makeover by extending opportunities to an entire face and body makeover. Patients want to enhance their smile, and while this may start with their teeth, the results can go beyond and offer a solution to brighten their face. The fusion of cosmetic dentistry with nonsurgical aesthetic facial treatments can help to achieve maximum client and practice benefits (Figures 1 to 4).

Drs. Nalin and Arpan Patel, Owners, Oxford Valley Dental Excellence and the Smile Spa at Oxford Valley

After running a dental practice for more than 3 decades, creating a medical spa within my practice was a natural move, since 70% of the work my office already performs is cosmetic dentistry in areas ranging from tooth whitening to porcelain veneers and laminates.
My son, Dr. Arpan Patel, and I own and operate Oxford Valley Dental Excellence and the Smile Spa at Oxford Valley in Langhorne, Pa.
When designing our 10,000 square feet of space, we wanted to create a spa-like atmosphere through the use of curved walls and arches with no sharp corners or edges. We also installed a large waterfall in the middle of the office to create a soothing and calming environment. Offering spa-like services and a relaxing atmosphere is one way to attract reluctant patients for necessary dental treatment. Our patients come to us to improve the health and appearance of their mouths. Now we are able to offer the same benefits to our patients’ overall appearance.
I realized that after doing many smile makeovers, one of the first things patients would notice when given a mirror to look at their beautiful new smiles was the wrinkle here or there on their faces. Often, before and after photos have been disappointing because of unwanted hair in the smile area, thereby decreasing the value of the smile. A smile comprises more than a person’s teeth…it comes from their whole face. It only makes sense to treat the entire face to go along with that new smile and make it a complete package.
Another factor in my decision to add spa services was the fact that the majority of people are afraid to go to the dentist and are anxious during their visit. I have found that having the ambiance of a spa is relaxing to patients, transforming the experience with emotions evoking gentleness and calm.
A 2004 ADA/Colgate Oral Health Trend survey indicated that almost 50% of the dentists surveyed of-fered some type of spa service, and 5% offered massages, facials, and manicures. The numbers are predicted to increase even more in the coming year as dentists look for more ways to relax patients and offer additional services.
Another advantage to offering spa treatments is that insurance reimbursement processes are not a concern, since patients pay for the services out of pocket.
At Oxford Valley Dental Excellence patient satisfaction and comfort are our top priorities. Smile Spa, a dental spa, combines the safest and most effective aesthetic procedures in a soothing spa environment. The office has licensed aestheticians that create personalized treatment plans for each patient.
Entering a dental spa is different from entering a typical dental office. At Smile Spa, clients hear the soothing sounds of cascading waters. Before being seated for a dental service or spa consultation, clients are offered a paraffin wax treatment or a neck warmer to start the visit with serenity and relaxation. A dental concierge meets patients’ every need. Upon arrival, clients can use headphones and watch a movie, or listen to music.

Figure 5. Entrance to Oxford Valley Dental Excellence and Smile Spa.

Figure 6. Hallway, Oxford Valley Dental Excellence and Smile Spa.

Figure 7. Treatment room, Oxford Valley Dental Excellence and Smile Spa.

Figure 8. Massage at Smile Spa.

Figure 9. Facial at Smile Spa.

Smile Spa sets itself apart from any other by combining the safest and most effective aesthetic procedures in a beautiful and soothing spa environment. Our highly trained, licensed aestheticians work with clients to develop a treatment plan that works for each individual. Massage therapists help our guests feel relaxed and calm with a massage, the perfect antidote to relieve muscle tension and stress. Spa services include massages, facial treatments, skin and body treatments, hair removal, Botox injectables, Radiesse (BioForm Medical) and Restylane fillers, and cosmetic dentistry including veneers, crowns, bonding, whitening, and full-mouth reconstructions. The practice also services traditional dental and surgical procedures including endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, and restorative and implant dentistry.
At the dental spa, treatments by Syneron’s eStyle, Libra, and VelaSmooth systems provide patients with skin tightening and rejuvenation, microdermabrasion, cellulite reduction, laser hair removal, and acne treatment. eStyle is a single piece of equipment that supports 4 aesthetic applications: laser hair removal, acne treatment, skin rejuvenation, and skin tightening. Libra is a microdermabrasion system that provides crystal and crystal-free microdermabrasion in one system. VelaSmooth provides revolutionary cellulite treatment and is clinically proven for the effective treatment of cellulite. It is the first Class II medical device that has been FDA-cleared for cellulite reduction.
The office uses the latest technology in laser dentistry for no drills, no needles, and virtually pain-free treatment. The practice uses only digital x-rays, reducing radiation exposure by 80% to 90%. Other technology ad-vancements include digital Panorex, the CAESY patient education system, advanced sterilization, digital cosmetic imaging, and a digital caries detection unit. All aspects of dentistry can be found under one roof in a luxurious, relaxing spa at-mosphere. During appointments, the dentists will in-corporate an intraoral camera that lets patients view their teeth close-up on a chairside television screen. This helps patients understand their dental health condition, which is especially helpful for those requiring comprehensive treatment (Figures 5 to 9).

Mr. Fields served as president of the OpusDent dental laser division of Lumenis for 5 years. He has more than 20 years of experience in the dental laser market and aided in the introduction of the CO2 dental lasers for soft tissue in 1986. He can be reached at

Disclosure: Mr. Fields is Vice President, New Market Development, Syneron Medical.

Dr. Adams graduated in the top 1% of the clinical honors program from Loyola University School of Dentistry and received America’s Top Dentists Award in 2005 to 2006 for cosmetic and implant reconstructive dental surgeon by the Consumers Research Council of America. Dr. Adams is a faculty member of The Institute for Advanced Dental Education. He is also a Fellow in the International Col-lege of Dentists. He can be reached at (312) 432-1132 or

Dr. Nalin Patel received his doctor of dental medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the ADA, Pennsylvania Dental Association, and the AGD. In addition, Dr. Nalin Patel was awarded Americas Top Dentists in 2004 to 2005 for cosmetic dentistry. He can be reached at (215) 750-2222 or

Dr. Arpan Patel received his doctor of dental medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has been through several postgraduate courses in different fields of dentistry since. He is a member of the ADA, Pennsylvania Dental Association, the AGD, American Academy of Cosmet-ic Dentistry and the Dental Organiza-tion of Conscious Sedation, and is a Las Vegas Institute Doctor. Dr. Arpan Patel has a wide range of experience in different areas of dentistry, from cosmetic and restorative dentistry to surgical treatments and endodontic  treatments. He can be reached at (215) 750-2222 or