Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Author photo

By Sarah Storkin
Observer Staff Writer 

Really?? There exists an International Dental Spa Association? What's a Dental Spa anyway?

A dentist convention in San Francisco invites Dental Spas worldwide to sharpen their skills


September 27, 2019

Dr. Lynn Watanabe in front of Country Flags of all ADA FDI attendees.

Yes.....that's right folks. No need to order new contact lenses or clean your eyeglasses. Local dentist and residents Lynn Watanabe and John Chien actually founded this amalgam (yes....pun intended) of words to form this niche association in 2002.

So what is the International Dental Spa Association? For that matter, what exactly is a dental spa?

Yes...that's right. Your first reaction was correct. Lynn Watanabe opened her dental practice, "Dental Spa" in Pacific Palisades in May 2002 as a combination dental practice offering spa services. Complimentary hand or foot massages are offered to patients to relax and calm the senses, before during or after dental procedures in a spa environment.

So now that we know what a dental spa is, why the need for an association? Dr. Watanabe not only found herself fielding questions from other dentists across the States, but also worldwide. Some wanted to create their own dental spa in Europe, Asia, South America or

the Middle East. It became evident an organization was needed to address many questions on this new type of dental practice. Shared experiences became common.

Some statewide dentists wanted to expand their practice to include Botox for patients, but the various dental boards were then called upon to decide and produce guidelines on when a dentist could administer Botox or facial fillers.

Group Photo: Pictured from left to right: Dr. Ricardo Perez of Cosmetic Dental Spa Dr. Luciana Aily Santos of Brazil Dental Spa Dr. Lynn Watanabe of Dental Spa Mr. John Chien of Dental Spa

This was a particular topic discussed at the IDSA meeting September 6, 2019 at the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry occurring at the same time as the 160th Annual American Dental Association Scientific Sessions and World Dental Federation (FDI) Meeting in San Francisco. Via video conference, Dr. Ellie Ferneini MD, DMD, MHS, MBA, FACS, Chief Editor of the American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery, joined Dr. Watanabe, Dr. Ricardo Perez of Cosmetic Dental Spa in Pleasant Hill, Dr. Luciana Aily Santos of Brazil Dental Spa in Sao Paulo and Dr. Stivaliz Montejano of Manoaj Dental Spa near Mexico City to discuss regulations of which type of medical and dental cosmetic facial procedures general dentists are allowed to administer.

For example, currently, in California, general dentists are allowed to administer Botox to patients so long as it is related to a patient's dental condition. The meeting concluded by cautioning all health care professionals to always check with their appropriate state board regulatory agencies to verify what procedures they are allowed to administer.


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