Dr. Shelly Ereth-Barone grew up a world away from New Orleans – on a cattle ranch in northeast Montana.
“I am one of five girls in the family, and we definitely had a lot of ranching duties growing up,” she says, “things like moving cows, fencing.”
Very early on, however, she found that her true passion lay not on the open range, but in a dental office.
“I know it sounds weird, but from the moment I first went to the dentist, I loved everything about it,” she says. “The smell, the sounds, the atmosphere – it just drew me in. I could not wait to go back for my cleanings.”
Ereth-Barone credits the good people of her childhood dental office with her love of the experience. She says it’s something she tries hard to replicate at her own office, GNO Dental Care in Metairie.
“We really do everything we can to make people feel comfortable from the moment they walk in the door,” she says. “We treat every patient as if they were our family member.”
Recognizing that coming to the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience for some, Ereth-Barone says that sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.
“We encourage patients to bring in headphones if they’d like,” she says. “Sometimes we’ll burn candles, like lavender, which is good for relaxation. But sometimes it’s just as simple as keeping them talking about something like what they’re going to have for dinner that night that keeps their mind off what’s going on.”
Ereth-Barone says one of her most memorable cases of having to calm extreme jitters came when she first opened her own office nine years ago.
“This young boy came in for a simple cleaning and he was so terrified that his mom had to literally drag him in the door,” she says. “Three or four months later, he came back in and just strolled through the door, called out ‘Hi Dr. Barone,’ and went on back on his own to go sit in the chair.”
Ereth-Barone adds that she’s personally done a lot of research and extra training on how to give injections in the most comfortable way possible.
“I know that can be the scariest part for some people,” she says, “so I want to make sure it’s as gentle as it can be.”
GNO Dental also uses a program called Caesy, which can educate a patient about any procedure through animations and audio.
“It explains exactly what will happen in a very easy way that really takes out that scary unknown,” she says. “Again, it’s all about creating the most welcoming, calming experience possible.”
GNO Dental Care
110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 105-A, Metairie, 832-1164, GNODentalCare.com
Years in practice – 10; Degrees – UNO (Received early admission to dental school); LSU School of Dentistry; Native of Montana