Is this Britain’s most cheerful dental surgery?

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 U

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 Unthank Road. Dental nurse, Steph Philp Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Children can have a cuddle with a therapy bunny as part of a new dental practice’s efforts to help make youngsters less nervous about check-ups.

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 U

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 Unthank Road. Dental nurse, Steph Philp Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Jo Lopes and Steph Philp, who co-manage NR2 Dental Surgery in Unthank Road, have also decorated it with brightly coloured artwork with the aim to help patients take their minds off their visit - especially children who may have struggled in the past.

And to further help patients, the surgery has recruited a four-legged member to the team called Dylan, to act as a therapy pet.

The five-year-old sandy and white buck Dutch bunny can be seen around the surgery and is available for a cuddle if needed.

Miss Lopes, who has been a dentist for 11 years, said: “We love giving children who may have struggled with dental visits in the past time and play opportunities to become familiar with us and the dental environment. We have experienced success in gaining their trust and cooperation, allowing necessary treatment to be carried out without anxiety.

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 U

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 Unthank Road. Dental nurse, Steph Philp Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant


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“We hope that our little patients will develop an image of their dentist that is not loaded with fear and apprehension but rather excitement and anticipation.

“Our passion for treating children has finally found a home.”

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Dylan is even available to go into surgery, if requested, but not for invasive procedures.

Miss Lopes, who is mum to seven-year-old daughter Snowie, said: “Our therapy friend will surprise and endear our children and even our grown-up patients too.

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 U

Therapy rabbit Dylan for children to cuddle if nervous at the dentists at NR2 Dentist Norwich, 117 Unthank Road. Dental nurse, Steph Philp Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

“This four-legged little furball has been brought into our team to help people connect and feel at ease when our patients attend our surgery.

“The research into anxiety and the impact on people’s wellbeing that therapy animals bring has been brought to light in recent times and we will make the most of its value and benefits.

“He follows people around like a little dog.”

Her co-manager, Ms Philip has 34 years experience as a dental nurse and is originally from Scotland.

NR2 Dental Studio mural in Unthank Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

NR2 Dental Studio mural in Unthank Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The pair took over the surgery when its former owner retired and opened in March shortly before lockdown.

Despite having to close so soon after opening, the practice offered remote telephone triage and advice to patients.

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