Eastern Sensibilities in a Dental Practice


First and foremost one of the nation's top cosmetic and aesthetic dentists, Dr. Steven Andreaus of Raleigh thoroughly enjoys pampering the senses of all of his patients. While he has all the skills of a well-trained Western dentist, he also has the 'Eastern' sensibilities to care for the emotional comfort of his patients.

'The simple truth is that I'm in a very emotional business,' he says. 'When a patient looks in a mirror after our time together and sees a dazzling smile looking back at them they often experience an emotional lift that lasts a lifetime.

'Depression related to appearance, and anxiety about coming to a dentist at all, are every-day issues in this practice. A current patient is a psychotherapist whose brother is a dentist. She comes to this practice, she told me, principally because of  the ambience. And she is also pleased with her new smile.

'Not long ago, I worked with a young man and ultimately we had to extract 27 of his 32 teeth and rebuild his mouth and his smile. He became a drug addict at the age of 13, has lived a stormy life that included neglect of his teeth and his health generally, and now he is deeply grateful to be making a fresh start. As he said to me, 'It's pointless to think of trying to get a decent job with teeth that look like this.' And he's right.

'Another patient came to us from Burlington, where he left his family dentist who is perfectly capable of doing his basic dental work. While he needs this basic work, what he really wanted was a great smile. He's a salesman, presenting himself to the public every day, very self-conscious about the spaces between his teeth. His teeth are a little short, as well. We're lengthening his teeth, making them longer and dramatic and fulfilling his wishes for a stopper of a smile.' 

As one of only 300 dentists who have earned accreditation from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentists, Dr. Andreaus continues to address the dental and emotional needs of every patient'including the common fear of pain. 'There are ways to give pain-free injections, and ways to drill on teeth and do root canals that don't hurt,' he says. 'The most important thing is to give the patient control and work at a leisurely pace. Rushing is never a good thing when working on teeth.'

And he is sensitive, as well, to the full range of other emotional and sensory needs and pleasures of his patients. Items:

Visual Attractions. 'We've made this look as little like a dental office as possible,' Dr. Andreaus says. 'Even when you go into the operatories, there is art on the ceilings, often art on the wall, and our Gallery A offerings, showing the work of local artists, throughout our spaces. We have fountains in the operatories, and nice, relaxing music playing from our collection of CDs. We encourage our patients to relax, lie back in the chair, look out the windows at the birds and the trees, and listen to the music of their choice.'

Sense of Smell. 'We very often have either aromatherapy candles or a little oil lamp burning lavender,' says Dr. Andreaus. 'Actually there's great research on the therapeutic benefits of lavender both for relaxation and pain control. A German gentleman taught me to place a spot of lavender on the bibs of patients, to achieve these benefits.'

Taste. Dr. Andreaus, an avid cyclist throughout this country and often in Europe, searches for great food when he is traveling. 'Not the most expensive food, but the best tasting,' he says. 'I'm always searching for the best olives, the best breads and cheeses, simple wonderful food.

'In our practice, we also care about taste. The hygienist routinely has the patient rinse with a wash that helps kill bugs and bacteria, and we use a raspberry vinaigrette wash for our oral screening exam, from a company called ViziLite. It's not the greatest flavor, but it gives us the opportunity to do a better examination than ever before.

'We also offer our patients wonderful chocolates that come from a chocolatier here in town, and we have great coffee as well as a large assortment of teas, as well as white and red wines. For extended visits, we're pleased to provide lunch for our patients.'

Riding His Bike

Hopping on his bike and taking off for a 100-mile ride is as common an event for Dr. Andreaus as a comfortable two-mile stroll is for most of us. In fact, for years Dr. Andreaus has logged about 6.000 to 10,000 miles a year on his bike'usually in conjunction with supporting a worth cause.

 For example, he completed the 575-mile AIDS Vaccine Ride in Europe to raise funds for AIDS vaccine research, and zipped from Raleigh to Washington, DC (330 miles in less than 20 hours of riding time) again in support of AIDS research.

He has on a number of occasions completed 100-mile rides with Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor and seven-time winner of the Tour de France, to raise funds for cancer research.
Dr. Andreaus's emphasis has often been on raising awareness of the need for frequent screenings for oral cancer. Several years ago, he captured the attention of dentists across the country when he completed the Paris-to-Brest-to-Paris (PBP) ride, completing the 750-mile jaunt in 86 hours, while urging his colleagues to establish regular programs of oral cancer screening for all of their patients.

Most recently, he designed his own version of the famous PBP ride when he rode from Murphy in the mountains to Manteo by the ocean'also a 750 mile ride.

'The simple truth about oral cancer,' he says, 'is that there is a high rate of cure when the disease is caught early, and a very poor prognosis when it is discovered in a later stage. That's why I encourage everyone over the age of 18, and all of my dental colleagues, to give the highest priority to a simple, effective, annual oral cancer exam.' The Ride for Oral Cancer was endorsed and promoted by the North Carolina Dental Association.

For the Love of Art

From the time he opened his practice on Glenwood Avenue, Dr. Andreaus'a painter, potter, and photographer'has used the outer rooms of his office as Raleigh's Gallery A to express his love of art. The exhibit features the work of a new artist every six to nine weeks. The work of Dawn Marie Rozzo, of Raleigh, is currently on display. (www.dawnrozzo.com).


1 -- Artist Dawn Marie Rozzo discusses her work, now on display in Gallery A, with Dr. Steven Andreaus.
2-3 ' Cosmetic artistry makes a dramatic difference in this woman's smile and overall appearance.

'A current patient is a psychotherapist whose brother is a dentist. She comes to this practice . . . principally because of  the ambience. And she is also pleased with her new smile.'

For more information on dental cosmetic procedures, or on helping to support the 'Give Back a Smile' program (which provides free cosmetic dental care to survivors of domestic violence), contact:
Steven B. Andreaus, DDS

1637 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27608
Telephone: (919) 546-9011
web address: www.drandreaus.com