While this blog has given me opportunities to try out plenty of weird and wonderful things, few have captured the imaginations of my friends and family like the opportunity to review a dental spa.
With clinics in Edinburgh and Perth, Cherrybank Dental Spa offers a combination of world-class dentistry in a relaxed, spa-like environment. Whether you’re after general dentistry with a luxurious extra touch, or a cosmetic treatment such a teeth whitening or Invisalign, you can find it at Cherrybank.
Like a lot of people, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the dentist. Sure, I go for my regular dental hygiene appointments because it’s better than the alternative, but I’m not happy about it. None of us like the feeling of the drill, or the scaler, or that wee suction tube that’s supposed to get all the saliva out of your mouth so the dentist can actually work but that never seems to work properly. But I’m one of those people who internalises all that discomfort, ending up shaky and panicky in the chair every couple of months – and don’t get me started on anything heavier than a clean. My old dentist, back in my home town, actually told me after removing the top ones that if I was ever in the position where I had to get my bottom wisdom teeth taken out she’d be sending me to the dental hospital for stronger sedation than she was qualified to offer.
That’s why, although I was offered any number of fancy cosmetic dental treatments at Cherrybank, I thought I’d opt for a straightforward dental hygiene appointment instead. The team at the spa are all specially trained in how to handle dental phobias, and I was curious about the extent to which the added extras would calm my fears and potentially even make the experience an enjoyable one.
The Edinburgh dental spa is centrally located, about a 20 minute walk from Waverley station on the other side of Queen Street Gardens. On arrival, I was met by MJ, the clinic’s lovely front desk manager, and shown into a luxurious waiting room far more in keeping with a spa than your typical high street dentist. Think cosy armchairs, fine china for teas and coffees and a generously filled basket of (relatively healthy) snacks that kept the kids in the room happy. There were also plenty of thank-you cards from previous customers – and, let’s face it, going to the trouble to send one of those means far more than any Tripadvisor review.
MJ had sent across all the relevant forms I needed to fill out by email in advance, but since I have no printer at home they’d fallen victim to my complex inbox filing system. No matter – filling them out gave me something to do while I waited for my tea to cool down. Besides, it’s safe to say the forms at Cherrybank aren’t like what you’d expect from a typical dentist: along with the usual medical history, and questions about my current dental concerns, I also got a checklist from which I could choose spa-style treatments to have alongside my hygiene appointment.
Ignoring Jehane’s urging via text message to tick every one of the boxes (I’m not sure the paraffin hand wax and heated comfort mittens are entirely compatible) I limited myself to five: a back massager pad, lip balm, paraffin hand wax, eye mask and heated neck wrap. Suitably relaxed, I went through to the treatment room to meet my dentist Annabel.
It was here that it became very obvious that Cherrybank is not just a gimmick: their dentists are highly trained and at the top of their game. While cleaning my teeth, Annabel was able to (correctly) deduce that I am terrible at flossing, even when I remember to do so, and was able to give me some tips to help me do it properly from now on (I’ve also added “flossing” to the habit tracker in my bullet journal, so bonus points to me when I remember to do it!). She’s also the first dentist to ever recommend that if I am not ready to invest in an electric toothbrush, then I should buy a children’s one – the smaller head is far more effective at getting at those hard-to-reach places than a standard sized toothbrush.
Leaving the frills aside, one of the big differences between my Cherrybank experience and my usual dental hygiene appointments was the length of time devoted to the session. Annabel took special care to work slowly and thoroughly, taking the time to explain everything she was doing before she did it. I certainly felt completely at ease throughout the process but, perversely, I feel as though I could have done with fewer explanations and getting the appointment over with more quickly. At least at my appointment, the dentist worked alone, without a hygienist or dental nurse present to help with drainage or anything. It meant that she was constantly having to pause to deal with what we shall politely call my saliva issues, which can’t have been fun for her.
Would I do it again? Well, price is obviously a factor: a cosmetic hygiene appointment at Cherrybank would typically set you back £104 for a treatment that would be £15 on the NHS. For people whose dislike of the dentist is worse than mine though, I’d argue that it’s worth the money. Taking care of your teeth is important, and Cherrybank pricing strikes me as fairly typical for private clinics that specialise in dental phobias.
And sure, the spa treatments might seem gimmicky when you see them all written down on the clipboard, but once you’re in the chair it’s very obvious that they’ve been chosen to counteract anxiety and make the whole treatment process more pleasant. An eye mask or music can block out the worst of the sights and sounds, while the massage pad was very pleasant until I crossed the point in my appointment where I felt as though the whole experience had gone on just a little too long for my liking. I’d also like to see every dental clinic in Scotland adopt cherry bakewell flavoured lip balm to deal with chapped lips in the chair.
As weird and wonderful blog experiences go, this was probably in my top 10 – and I’ve managed to floss almost every day since.
I received a complimentary dental hygiene appointment at Cherrybank Dental Spa for the purposes of a review, but all opinions are my own and unbiased.