Valley Dental Spa in Okemos Takes
the pain out of seeing the dentist
After choosing a video to watch,
Lora Lantis relaxes and recieves a
hand forearm massage at Valley
Dental Spa in Okemos.
Novocaine, a drill and a massage
By Elizabeth Whitt
OKEMOS — Laura Graichen receptionist at the facility, greeted Lora Lantis with a smile in the waiting area.
They proceeded to the paraffin bath area for a hand dip and then went to her room where a heated herbal roll was wrapped around Lantis neck. Warm slippers were then placed on her feet.
After choosing a video to watch. Lantis relaxed and received a hand and forearm massage.
The next step in Lantis appointment is to have an area of her gums numbed in preparation for the Novocaine Injection Dr Martin Valley will be administering before he begins her crown prep.
Yes, you read right — Lantis is not at a day spa. she is at the Valley Dental Spa in Okemos.
Lantis, of Morrice, is a longtime patient of the practice.
“I know that the dentist is necessary, but I had avoided going for several years,” Lantis confessed.
When her son Raymond needed orthodontic work, she realized. “There Is no reason for me not to go,”
At that time, Lantis heard an advertisement on a radio station for Dr. Martin Valley a Christian dentist in Okemos. She thought that sounded like the place for her.
“I called them and they got me in the next day. I love them they’re awesome.”
She and Valley reminisced about a duet they sang to a Newsboys tune just before he gave her that first painless injection.
She and Valley reminisced about a duet they sang to a Newsboys tune just before he gave her that first painless injection. “I will never forget my old dentist saying. ‘Wider, open wider. wider,” said Lantis. “But with Valley. I didn’t feel a thing.”
“The key is to go really slow and to give a little shake,” said Valley. “There isn’t any fatty tissue in the roof of your mouth. but there are a lot of nerves. The shake helps to distract the patient and to spread the medicine around.”
When Valley first told her about the new concept that his practice would be Implementing. Lantis
said, “I thought it was a strange concept.”
She is now a solid convert. however.
A dental spa, of course, offers a full range of dental services. but they also offer a wide range Of complimentary spa services.
The only extra charge Is $49 for an hour long full body massage.
The waiting room features a massaging recliner, a fireplace, fresh fruit and ice water.
Phil Shumway, a patient of Valley stopped in at lunch the day I was there just to relax in the massage recliner.
When was the last time you dropped in at your dentist’s office just to relax in the waiting room?
Valley and his wife Dawn first started thinking about converting their practice during an American Dental Association conference In San Francisco In 2003. Valley had read some articles about the concept and was Intrigued, but not thoroughly convinced. The first dental spa was in Dallas, Texas.
There are now a couple In New York, Chicago, San Francisco and two others in Michigan.
Valley is very open about his Christianity — which is another reason Lantis said she likes him.
He prays with patients if they want him to. He speaks openly about his own faith and mission activities.
Besides operating his dental Practice, Valley is a lay minister and is active in missionary dentistry.
“In January the owner of the building I was leasing told me I had to get out,” said Valley.
He had felt the lord steering him into changing the direction of his practice and now he was sure it was time for a change.
Valley and his wife Dawn prayed about the decision and felt that they were being led in a specific direction, he said. They opened their dental spa in April.
“This office was not even on the market. We were able to get Into it in a relatively quick amount of time and as Dawn and I prayed about It and talked about It more. we knew we wanted our office to be a place where people could relax.”
The Valleys say they want their practice to be a place where they are serving people and loving people. “If you can make people relax, you completely remove ‘the fear factor.”
Kim Eisinger is one of Valleys chair-side assistants. Eisinger said she has felt a change in patient’s attitudes since the change In the practice. “We take your mind off the things that make you nervous
with some things that are fun.”
“We (the employees) are all happier, too,” said Eisingar. “It’s a little thing but It makes such a difference.”
“I just got a letter today from a new patient. He was so happy about his experience.” said Einsinger. “The last time he came In he brought us brownies.”
“I find it takes people’s mind off the actual dental part of it. They have something to look forward to.” said Mary McCreary. one of the dental hygienists at the office.
Shawna Schiestel, one of the other hygienists at the office, said. “We have a lot of people who have not been to the dentist in a long time because of their anxiety, as well as people who are really into the relaxation part of it.”
Dawn Valley, who serves the practice as office manager, sees the spa concept as a smart business move.
“There are a lot of excellent dentists in Okemos. People have a lot of choices of where to go to get their dental needs met.”
“Valley wants to live a life of service and wanted to go over and above just offering quality dentistry,” she said. “People leave here asking, ‘Do I have to wait six months to come back?”
“Parents are bickering over who gets to take the kids to the dentist. The kids get their orthodontic checkups and the parents enjoy the spa treatments.”
The practice has grown substantially.
“At every other dentist office In town. getting your teeth cleaned is pretty uneventful.”
“People leave here and go back to tell their co-workers about the great things that were done for them at their appointment.”
Dawn said that patients come from Clare, Swartz Creek, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Morrice, Fowlerville, Perry and beyond to have their dental needs met. “Word of mouth is huge.”
“People are so excited about coming here, so they go out and tell everyone about it.”
The cost to the business of the spa treatments is offset by the increase in patients. The cost of paraffin and aromatherapy oils is far less than the marketing and advertising expenses that the practice has not had to spend.
If you think that this might be the dental office for you, you can visit the office’s Web site at www.valleydentalspa.com to learn more.
The spa is located near Okemos Road off Jolly Road at 2192 Commons Parkway.