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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Sink Into a Soothing Cocoon : Sparta’s Gentle Dentistry

Is it possible to have a dental hygiene experience that makes you want to come back again. . .and again?  What might sound like fantasy happens every day at Gentle Dentistry in Sparta. Dr. Zelia Cannon and her team have been providing a softer, more soothing dental experience for more than twenty years. And the practice continues to evolve because of Dr. Cannon’s commitment to advanced technologies and a willingness to “seek and embrace change.”

Gentle Dentistry offers its patients a unique ambience, especially in its attention to detail. The office reflects Dr. Cannon’s appreciation for patient comfort and esthetic excellence. The relaxed environment is one more often found in a world-class spa. And Nadine Lyons, RDH, Oraspa™ Therapist, provides a unique dental hygiene experience that leaves patients pleading for more.

Lyons is currently the only certified Oraspa™ therapist in New Jersey and one of an elite group of  100 certified therapists nationwide.  The Oraspa™ program, which requires certification above and beyond the training needed to be a dental hygienist, was developed with the input of experts in the areas of aromatherapy, music therapy, acupressure, dentistry, dental hygiene, paramedical aesthetics, behavioral psychology, chiropractic, holistic medicine and interior design (particularly, feng shui).  The resulting treatment combines natural healing elements—a relaxing environment, music therapy, touch therapy and dental aromatherapy—to create a truly unique patient experience. This holistic form of cleaning relieves anxiety, reduces tension and promotes overall wellness. Any negativity that one commonly associates with a dental visit is banished and replaced with a procedure that balances, harmonizes and promotes health of the mind, body and spirit.

To fully appreciate this special experience, here’s a scenario from an actual patient’s perspective.

Melissa, who describes herself as “wound up,” with her mind and body going full-tilt following a big dose of caffeine every morning, always insisted on the first hygiene appointment of the morning.  When she arrived at Gentle Dentistry’s office, all she could think about was what she had to do that day, not her dental hygiene appointment. Even though Melissa comes every three months, dental hygiene visits have always been something to just “get through.” She saw them as a sidetrack to her productivity, a bump in her road, a chance to lie down with incongruent thoughts running through her mind. They were not her idea of a joyful experience.  She also hated all that scraping. 

Finally, Melissa agreed to an Oraspa™ appointment during her routine maintenance visit.  While she was excited about the prospect of a different experience, she was still a bit anxious about what was going to happen.

Once she entered Nadine Lyons’s treatment room, everything became hushed. Beautiful music and a peaceful atmosphere enhanced the “spa” feeling.  After a medical history update, Melissa reclined in the patient chair to a warm, soothing motion and a blanket covering her body. Lyons placed a warm towel on Melissa’s chest and something cool, then warm, on her face.  Melissa felt as if she were safely wrapped in a little cocoon.

Lyons explained that she was going to apply a custom blend of therapeutic-grade essential oils, a synergy that took into account Melissa’s allergies and sensitivity to many smells.  She urged Melissa to “experience the experience” and explained that they were not going to talk during the procedure.  Melissa doesn’t really know what made her relax and let go, but she remembers being much less aware of what was happening clinically than ever before.

The oral cancer screening felt like a massage and included pressure point therapy that helped relieve Melissa’s chronic sinus discomfort. The water in the ultrasonic had a pleasant taste, and  the saliva ejector, which remained in her mouth throughout the appointment, didn’t bother her in the slightest, contrary to past experience. Best of all, Melissa didn’t recall feeling any root sensitivity during the procedure.

Melissa had no idea how long she was in the chair and recalls not even caring. She had reached a state of total relaxation, a state she admits she rarely attains—and one she never expected to reach during a dental visit!  Although she remembers trying to figure out what was so different during this cleaning, her curiosity was quickly replaced with the thought “I don’t care what’s happening, just keep going.”  She lost the need to control the appointment—and was amazed that she did not feel controlled. She merely felt detached, ready to fall asleep.

Near the appointment’s end, Lyons began to speak to Melissa in a soft, comforting voice, reporting her findings and giving her recommendations. Melissa recalls never wanting the appointment to end. She felt refreshed and ready to schedule more visits, saying, “I can never have my teeth cleaned any other way!”

New mothers and patients who are normally apprehensive about dental visit particularly appreciate this special service: They look forward to sitting quietly in Nadine Lyons’s treatment room for the nurturing therapy she offers.

Gentle Dentistry is located at 25 Woodport Road, Sparta, New Jersey. Contact them at 973-729-9044 or visit

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