Pennwell web 225 300


Jan. 27, 2011
SmileScapesUSA patent-pending collection has 12 posters to choose from, including scenic views from around the world.
What calls one to become a dental hygienist? Is it flexible hours and meeting new people, or is becoming a dental hygienist a baby-step to take before making a bigger commitment to dentistry? To read more about patient anxiety, go to patient anxiety.For Janet Shangle, it was the combination of matching a passion for people with her caring nature. But like many hygienists, becoming licensed and working in private practice for more than 30 years lead to opportunities she never imagined. Janet’s entrepreneurial drive flourished, and today she is the CEO of her company, SmileScapesUSA.Located in the Chicago area, SmileScapesUSA is the brainchild of Shangle and business partner Jenny Haras. “We realized there was a terrific opportunity to enhance patients’ dental visits, literally right over our heads,” said Shangle. Enhancing patients’ office visit is an important aspect of keeping patients for a lifetime of dental care. One long-held practice at dental offices across the country is to create a relaxing environment by mounting posters on the ceiling above dental chairs. The emphasis is on “long-held” practice. This means the same posters tend to hang around for years and years and years. Shangle and Haras saw an opportunity: Why not make it easy for dental offices to hang new posters a couple of times a year instead of a couple of times each decade? SmileScapesUSA became a company with a mission: Relieving patient anxiety one poster at a time. SmileScapesUSA patent-pending collection has 12 posters to choose from, including scenic views from around the world. With SmileScapesUSA posters, patients may see scenic views of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Taj Mahal in India, or maybe the coast of Miami or a view of sky scrapers in Chicago. The latest additions to the collection are scenic views from State Parks, including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Each poster was chosen specifically for esthetic appeal and calming influence. But a refreshing change of scenery isn’t the only way SmileScapesUSA makes a difference in dental practices. SmileScapesUSA posters add interactive patient involvement that requires more than a casual glance. Hidden within the beautiful landscapes are more than 12 pictures of dental-related images for patients to locate. Shangle and Haras expanded their team to include graphic artist Gwendolyn Shangle. Her talent helped to find places to hide a toothbrush and other dental products from view. Finding the dental images is a challenge. For the 35 million people who avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear, it’s also a distraction.SmileScapesUSA has broadened its reach to serve dental professionals, patients, and related industries through new media communication at Here the mission of SmileScapes USA has grown to educate and empower patients for a more rewarding dental experience. Janet Shangle and Haran reach out to visitors in a many ways, including SmileScape’s blog that tackles many of the questions patients ask hygienist severy day. “Why should I use a tongue scrapper?” “What are tonsil stones?” “How can I have fresher breath? What toothpaste is paste is best?"Janet Shangle retired from practice in 2009. She now devotes more time to SmileScapes USA. “My experience as a dental hygienist was just the training I needed to manage a business," she said. "It continues to teach me about the important of education, planning, caring, and reaching out.” Through SmileScapesUSA she continues to keep her eyes open and exploring even more ways to enhance the dental patient experience.SmileScapesUSA was launched in 2008 at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting. Since then, Janet Shangle and Haran have attended shows in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Las Vegas, Nev. They plan to be in Nashville, Tenn., in June 2011, and in Chicago, Ill., for RDH Under One Roof in July 2011.For more information, go to comment on this subject, go to