Since 2016, Clinique Dentaire Dre Rachel Carrier has been using animal-assisted therapy to treat children aged 0–18 as well as adults with anxiety and special needs such as cerebral palsy, ADHD, ASD, or intellectual or physical disability.
Our goal is to increase dental visits for people with anxiety or special needs who currently have few resources close to home or need to visit specialized centres or hospitals for dental care.
We also want to treat people who have not been to the dentist for a long time because of fear, lack of specialized resources or because the wait time for general anesthesia in a hospital setting is too long (around 9 months).
We are proud to treat more than 100 patients a year using this gentle alternative approach and taking the time to understand the obstacles each patient is experiencing with dental care.
The first step is to make patients feel comfortable in the waiting room. That’s where our animal-assisted therapist Sylvie and Colette, a long-haired dachshund, come in. The dog is a great motivator, so we use Colette to reward positive behaviour, demonstrate procedures and soothe patients—it’s like putting a warm weighted blanket on the patient. The dog is extremely sensitive and can indicate the patient’s level of anxiety and energy. We can proudly say that we have successfully treated 95% of the patients who have used our animal-assisted therapy service!
Our success is thanks in large part to our certified animal-assisted therapist, who has received specific training in the dental field and ensures an optimal human-animal relationship!
Project submitted by Dre Rachel Carrier, dentist owner of the Dental Clinic Dr. Rachel Carrier