Walking into Vineyard Dental feels like walking into an upscale spa, not a dentist’s office — and that’s what Dr. Nancy Azizi intended when she opened her new “dental spa” this past December.
Azizi, who has been in business in Napa since 1997, said she had outgrown her former office on Jefferson Street when she decided to transform her practice into a full-blown dental spa. She hired a Los Angeles architect to redesign the new space into an earth-friendly, yet high-tech environment.
“I’ve always wanted a spa and I have been adding spa services slowly over the last few years,” Azizi said. “Now we are a spa first, and then a dental office.”
The American Dental Association does not track statistics about the number of dental offices that provide spa-like services, but according to Azizi, dental spas are gaining popularity around the country. These new businesses offer a range of spa and dental services that can be combined at each appointment, she said. There are several dental spas in San Francisco and other large cities, but Azizi said Vineyard Dental is Napa’s first.
The spa experience starts with the lobby. The waiting room is has a fireplace, lounge chairs and an assortment of teas. Soothing music provides the background noise and the front desk staff does double duty as estheticians and massage therapists.
Azizi said the look and feel of the office communicates her philosophy of being earth-friendly and organic.
“Our space needs to reflect our philosophy,” she said. “You need to walk in the door and get it. The tea, the music, the floors, the smell, tells you this will be good.”
Azizi said she practices what she preaches. “Your office reflects who you are, and this is a reflection of me. I do yoga, eat organic and meet with herbal practitioners. It is my lifestyle.”
Azizi and her team of 11 employees are all trained in Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. There are four dentists on staff including Azizi, Dr. Caterina Fiorentino, Dr. Joseph Styger, and Dr. Parwin Shiran. She also has a periodontist on staff, Dr. Christina Gasper.
Spa treatments can be added to each dental appointment. For example, patients who feel apprehensive or need to relax can add free services like hot stone therapy, a head and neck massage, meditation CDs or a warm blanket. For $10, customers can add a facial, ginger foot detox or collagen eye mask. For $20 they can add OraVerse, a local anesthesia reversal agent that Azizi said will rapidly reverse the effects of local anesthetic.
Rose Sheehan of Napa has been coming to Vineyard Dental for two years. She said she hasn’t used the spa services, but “the new space is beautiful and calming. As if the old office wasn’t enough, this is stunning and the staff is amazing.”
Vineyard Dental services include more than the spa treatments and relaxation — the practice utilizes some serious dental equipment. Azizi has spent the past 14 years acquiring top-of-the-line technology like the CEREC machine, which produces dental crowns during a patient’s visit, and a hand-held X-ray machine that allows the dentist or technician to stay with a patient during the X-ray procedure.
“I am a big advocate that dental equipment pays for itself,” Azizi said.
Azizi said she funded the redesign herself, without any outside investors. When asked about the cost for such a design she declined to elaborate, only saying, “Paint is paint and wood is wood. Just because my architect has a better design sense doesn’t mean it has to cost more.”
She explained that the interior was designed to be a spa-like atmosphere with serene off-white walls and special raw wood ceilings. Special acoustical tiles were used in the ceilings to reduce the dental noise.
When asked about the cost to customers, Azizi said her services do not cost more than other dentists’. Vineyard Dental’s rates, she said, are in line with the usual rates for Napa County and with other local dentists’ offices. The cost for the spa treatments covers Azizi’s cost for the materials so that instead of passing the fee on to everyone, only those who request a service pay for the products.
So what do her 15,000 patients think of the change to a dental spa?
“Every single patient loves it,” she said.