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Presley The ESA

September 23, 2020

Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience, especially for younger children. That’s why Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics is trying a new strategy. Meet Presley, the new emotional support dog helping patients smile and relax! Dogs have long played an integral role in the American family, offering unconditional love and—of course—lots of snuggles. In fact, research shows that close contact with dogs can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and improve overall health. However, the concept of a live-in pet has been lagging behind in the dental field—until now.

A couple of months ago, Dr, Pruitt of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics  announced his new employee—a toy Aussiedoodle named Presley. Aside from being adorable, Presley is being trained to provide comfort and affection—and to detect when patients need it.

If a patient is nervous or uncertain, Presley will place her head on a patient’s lap, climb into the dentist’s chair and wag her tail or offer her soft fur to calm a patient’s nervous system and remind the patient that everything will be okay. For most appointments, Presley just sleeps in the patients lap during the procedure. I can’t say I blame her—being adorable 24/7 must be exhausting!

From elderly patients to young children, Presley has been a hit at Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics. Here’s what a few patients have said about Presley:

Tracey: “Having Presley to pet and hold during my multiple dental procedures helped me to stay relaxed and calm. She is so adorable! She took my mind off of my mouth and all I could think about was how I could put her in my purse and take her home with me! Such an added benefit of being a patient of Dr Pruitt and Vestavia Family Dentistry!”

Olivia, age 11: “I really don’t like getting my teeth cleaned but when I found out Presley was there, she comforted me so much and now I’m never scared to get my teethed cleaned at that office again! The only bad thing was that I couldn’t take her home with me. She’s such a nice sweet puppy!”

Miranda: “I was very anxious about my dental appointment, and that’s when Dr. Pruitt brought Presley in. She is such a sweet puppy and being able to love on her during my appointment was very comforting and helped me relax. It was a special experience for me and definitely one I’ll never forget. I’m grateful for Dr. Pruitt and Presley for a truly unforgettable dental visit.”

Carson Pruitt: “Even as a dental student, I can relate to patients in that I also do not like going to the dentist. Having Presley in my lap for the duration of my appointment really helped with my dental anxiety and is something unique to Vestavia Family Dentistry. Every dentist should have a trained dental anxiety dog, like Presley, to help ease patients at their appointments and to help them forget they are sitting in a dental chair!”

Kala: “I love Presley, I’m starting to want one just like her. She made all of my dental appointments go by so smooth and easy and she helped to keep me relaxed and calm. I said I would never get another dog but she might have changed my heart.” If you want a chance to meet Presley, plan a visit to Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics. The team has been taking extra precautions to stay safe at the office, including taking the temperature of each guest and asking a short questionnaire.

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