Yes, teeth-cleaning. Scully is a registered dental hygienist based out of Montrose’s Mainstreet Essentials Day Spa. Her private practice, Mountain Oasis Dental Hygiene, has operated out of the spa since 2007, and, according to Scully, she is the only Colorado-based dental hygienist running such a “dental spa.”
“The biggest thing is how different this is from a traditional dental office,” she says. There are “no smells, no drills, no X-rays.”
But that doesn’t mean patients receive any less care when it comes to teeth-cleaning, gum maintenance and periodontal disease prevention. All her exams include a health history and periodontal probing and charting. She checks for bone loss, calculus (or tartar) deposits and decay, referring her patients to the appropriate dentist or specialist as needed. She also maintains access to all her clients’ X-rays to help inform how she cares for their teeth.
“I’ve been in dentistry since I was 14,”when she got a job as a dental assistant, she says. “I’ve worked in oral surgery, orthodontia, periodontics, and did traditional hygiene all over the country.”
She graduated from New Hampshire Technical Institute with an Associate in Science degree in dental hygiene in 1996 and then went on to receive her B.S.–DH from Northern Arizona University. After working for 13 years in different dental practices around the country, Scully relocated from Flagstaff, Ariz. to Montrose with the intention of starting her own business. At the time, Colorado was one of the only states that allowed dental hygienists to practice independently of dentists, enabling Scully to become autonomous and pursue her dream of providing her clients with a less clinical and more inviting dental experience. Once in Montrose, by chance Scully heard Mainstreet Essentials Day Spa was relocating and expanding their business. After having lunch with owner Connie Trosper and former co-owner Cindy Donohue, the three women decided, “Let’s try this!” – and a unique dental spa was born.
Through Mainstreet Essentials, Scully is able to offer her clients reflexology before their dental treatments or a facial or massage while their teeth are being whitened.
“This is all about the client and making sure when you leave you feel good about yourself,” she says.
Aside from Scully’s holistic approach to her clients’ experience, what’s also unique is her method. She uses an ultrasonic cleaner called a Cavitron to descale teeth. While gently but powerfully removing tartar and calcium deposits, the vibrating tip also shoots out water to wash away bacteria and remove debris. “It’s more comfortable and efficient” than traditional descalers she says. Cavitrons also clean with less pain, and effectively remove tartar from above and below the gum line.
After descaling, Scully uses a specialized jet polisher that utilizes sodium bicarbonate and water in a high-powered spray to wash away plaque and help remove stains. “It’s a more gentle but effective mechanism for cleaning teeth,” she says. Scully demonstrates by blasting a quick line across a penny, leaving a shiny copper line across the middle of an otherwise dull, brown coin.
Keeping with the spa theme, Scully has made a point of taking an alternative, more natural approach to her practice, steering clear of chemicals as much as possible.
“I use no fluoride unless someone requests it or needs it,” she says. “I don’t do anything you don’t want to do. My clients (both male and female) are like my friends; they know I’ll take care of them. I speak for them through their dental health.”
My own dental cleaning is surprisingly quick, painless and relaxing. Scully gently talks about each procedure, offering a topical numbing agent for my extra sensitive gums before tackling my tartar with the Cavitron. I’m able to stay calm and relaxed, even when she switches to hand instruments to reach some more stubborn areas. By the time Scully applies a quick (albeit salty) finish with the jet polisher, I am amazed how great I feel. No anxiety, no tense muscles, just teeth that feel extremely clean. And then there are my soft, moisturized hands thanks to the paraffin treatment. Ahhh. Next stop, the massage table in the next room.
Adult dental cleaning at Mountain Oasis Dental Hygiene starts at $80 for one hour. Elizabeth Scully, RDH, also offers sealants, whitening (in-house or take-home), deep cleaning, periodontal maintenance, and children’s cleaning. Paraffin wax hand treatments and reflexology are extra. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Mainstreet Essentials is located at 204 S. Uncompahgre in Montrose. To make an appointment, call 970/252-0381; their website is montrosedayspa.com.