By Dorothy Bliskey
Born and raised in Fond du Lac, Dr. Tammy Boudry, D.D.S, has returned to her hometown and opened a dental practice at 10 Forest Avenue. It’s not your ordinary dental practice. Among the employees at Boudry Dental, one stands out. Meet Bailey, the therapy dog. His role is to help calm uneasy patients – those who request his presence. The 65-pound furry canine is a Goldendoodle (part Golden Retriever, part Poodle) – a breed that is hypoallergenic, loving, intelligent and easily trained.
A comfy table top on wheels becomes Bailey’s workstation next to the dental chair where a nervous patient awaits dental work.
“Bailey does what the patient needs,” Boudry said, noting he is her personal pet. “Sometimes patients just like to be greeted by the ‘office dog.’ Others like to play with him. Some prefer a more calming interaction where Bailey can sit with them in the chair or next to them in a raised bed. It helps them relax.”
While she’s not sure if she’s the only dentist in Wisconsin to use a therapy dog for tense patients, Boudry says she knows she’s among the first. “The Wisconsin Dental Association wrote an insurance policy just for me,” she said. “There are lots of extra precautions and rules we follow to make sure our environment stays clean and safe.”
Benefits to the patient include less anxiety and an overall more pleasant atmosphere. “Some people are so adverse to dental treatment that they regularly skip cleanings or appointments. Others may need sedation,” Boudry said. “Bailey eases anxiety and helps reduce the need for more extensive treatment due to missed appointments. Our goal is to treat the patient as if they are a family member and to see them leave our office smiling.”
Boudry says she first came up with the idea after reading about use of therapy dogs in several medical clinics in the nation. “I thought Bailey would be a perfect addition to my dental family and could benefit my patients.”
Boudry, who earned her dental degree at the Marquette University School of Dentistry, has worked in the field for nearly 20 years. Her time spent doing dental work includes volunteering her talent to people-in-need all over the world.
“I have been blessed with many opportunities to serve all ages in different settings as an assistant, hygienist and then as a dentist. On my days off, I work treating under-served kids and volunteering for various organizations.”
With the latest high-tech equipment and three operating rooms, Boudry Dental offers a complete array of dental services (see list at end of article or online at www.drboudry.com.).
“We do everything from cleanings and fillings to oral surgery and orthodontics,” Boudry said. “I enjoy seeing patients of all ages, and especially adore children. Maybe it’s because they laugh at my jokes. Seriously, I find it rewarding to work with little ones to help them overcome fears or simply develop healthy oral habits. I love hearing how they can’t wait to come back, or how much fun they have had.
Boudry said her parents, David and Cindy Boudry were both small business owners and notes that her late grandfather started Boudry Electric 65 years ago. “Being a business owner is in my blood.”
A different kind of dental office – one focused on serving – is how Boudry describes her dental practice which opened this past spring. “We treat patients as individuals and give them options. Each patient gets a plan that is unique to them.”
Bailey is sometimes part of their customized plan. But there are other unique services offered at Boudry Dental as well. Like massage and reflexology in the back room… a reception area offering coffee, freshly flavored water and snacks… lovely artwork to view… and essential oils diffused into the air. Other patient perks include TV goggles, warm towels, massaging eyewear, iPads, and – of course, Bailey. All are Boudry’s way of creating a calm and inviting atmosphere for her patients.
“We believe in whole body health and wellness,” Boudry said. “An integrative approach to overall health and wellness provides a balance to patients.
“Diffusing essential oils increases the oxygen level in the air along with reducing bacteria, mold and fungus. Aromatherapy involves scientific use of pure essential oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being, such as calming effects to enhance the patient experience,” Boudry said. “Essential oils can have wonderful benefits, from relieving pain to improving periodontal health.”
“We try to be different. We run a practice, not a business. We put our patients first and even offer appointments as early as 7a.m. and as late as 8p.m. on certain days.”
Boudry says Bailey is ‘on-call’ and in the office as the need arises. “The feedback on Bailey has been nothing but amazing. “I have so many grateful patients, and the parents are especially thankful. Bailey has a gift of helping people forget they are at the dentist!.”