Anxiety associated with dental appointments is a steadily rising phenomenon. In fact, dental anxiety is often closely associated with phobias like dentophobia or odontophobia.
For many patients, the anxiety they feel when going to the dentist isn’t usually due to something that happened at your office. It’s most often caused by negative previous experiences, the possibility of experiencing pain, or the fear of possible mistakes.
So, how can you help patients that have previously or are currently experiencing dental anxiety at your office?
Be on Time
Nothing increases a person’s nerves like sitting, waiting and dwelling on their upcoming appointment. This is especially true if they’re already anxious.
Always make sure you’re on time to appointments and not keeping your patients waiting. This rings true for all patients, but even more so if you know they have a tendency to be anxious. Additionally, if you know in advance that they have dental anxiety, try to schedule them for an appointment slot where you know you’ll be on time. For example, the first appointment of the day or the first appointment after the lunch hour.
From the time you greet them to the time they leave the office, make sure you’re talking to them. Get to know them on a more personal level by asking them about their upcoming weekend or travel plans, or by asking them about their family. Then, explain all the procedures you’ll be doing during the appointment as you are doing them.
Letting them be comfortable with you and also walking them through your time together will help ease any discomforts they may be experiencing and make their experience a little bit easier.
Be Ready with Distractions
If your office is set-up to provide distractions to patients within the exam rooms, this can be a great tool for helping to ease nerves within patients prone to anxiety. Some distraction devices you could have at your disposal could include personal music players (iPod, etc.), a television, or even videos the patient can select from to watch during their exam.
Make them Comfortable
At the end of the day, you will want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make your patients comfortable, so their experience is an enjoyable one. One way to improve their comfort is by utilizing dental chair accessories, like headrests, backrests, and padded chair covers.
Not only will this increase their own comfort, but it will position them in a way that you and your staff will not need to strain when performing cleanings and exams. Contact the team at Crescent Products to learn more about what our products can do for your patients and staff.