Tips On Reducing Patient Anxiety At Your Dental Practice

Posted by Beethersedy on July 27, 2018

Dental anxiety is a real problem for both dentists and their patients. Some patients wait until their pain is unbearable to see a dentist. This can make the problem difficult for a dentist to treat. Thankfully, there are plenty of things dentists can do to reduce anxiety for the patients at their dental practice.

Be Aware Of The Signs Of Anxiety

Not every patient that feels anxious at their dental appointments is going to voice their concerns. In fact, when people are highly anxious, they’re more likely to stay silent. That’s why you need to look for some of the non-verbal cues associated with anxiety. If you notice that your patients seem anxious, you can take steps to assuage their fears.

Some of the more common non-verbal cues include sitting with legs and arms crossed, being jumpy, fidgeting, and breathing more quickly. Patients that are extremely anxious also tend to have an elevated heart rate.

Work To Create A Relaxing Environment

One of the reasons that so many people feel anxious at the dentists is due to the office itself. A lot of dental offices are cold, clinical, and generally uninviting. If you are able to create a friendlier, more welcoming environment, you’ll be able to put patients at ease.

Studies have shown that patients respond positively to fish tanks. Watching fish in a tank can lower a person’s heart rate and improve their overall mood. Small waterfalls and fountains can also be very relaxing. A lot of people find the sound of running water to be soothing. Lastly, you should use soothing colors, like soft blues and greens, when painting your office. Vibrant colors may look cheerful, but they can actually intensify a patient’s stress.

Don’t Make Your Patients Wait Too Long

Your patient may not be all that nervous when they arrive at your practice. However, if they have to wait a long time to see a dentist, their anxiety may gradually start to increase.

You should work hard to reduce patient wait times. Ideally, a patient should never have to wait more than 10 minutes to see a dentist. If your patients are waiting for more than 10 minutes, you should identify the source of the problem and solve it.

Make Sure Your Waiting Room Is Comfortable

While you shouldn’t keep patients in the waiting room forever, you should make sure they are comfortable while they are there. Make sure that the waiting room is always very clean, and provide comfortable seating for patients.

It’s also a good idea to provide some distractions. If a patient can watch TV or get engrossed in a magazine, they won’t dwell on their anxieties. Ensure that your waiting room is a pleasant place to be.

Offer Your Patients Headsets

Some dental tools can be very noisy. This really increases anxiety for a lot of patients. You should give them the opportunity to block out some of these sounds by providing headsets. You can set up the headsets to play soothing, relaxing movements.

A number of researchers have found that soothing sounds can actually reduce feelings of pain. If someone is undergoing a painful, noisy dental procedure, being able to listen to pleasant music can make things a lot easier for them.

Give Patients Something Nice To Look At

If you can afford to add screens to your offices, you absolutely should. Most patients welcome distractions when they’re undergoing a stressful procedure. If a patient can watch TV or even view simple relaxing scenes, it will be easier for them to maintain their cool.

If adding screens to your office isn’t an option, you should try to add interesting, yet calming imagery. For example, you could hang photographs with beautiful landscapes. If your patients are going to spend time looking up at the ceiling, you should place images there as well.

As you can see, there are all kinds of steps that dentists can take if they want to reduce patient anxiety. It’s important for dentists to learn how to manage these kinds of worries. It’s very common for people to be afraid of their dentists, but these kinds of fears aren’t based in reality. Make sure people feel welcome at your dental practice.

Filed under Dentistry Outreach Public Dental Health

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