The prominence of dental anxiety in the United States has long been documented. Even conservative estimates state that more than half of people who go to the dentist have some form of anxiety about the experience. At the highest end, some studies have put this number at 80 percent. What’s worse is that these same studies found that about 20 percent of patients have severe anxiety about being treated. Think of how many patients you see at your dental clinic each day. Every fifth person that walks through your door likely has severe anxiety about coming to your practice.
Whether your patients make you aware of their anxiety or not, there are several ways you can help make them more comfortable as they frequent your clinic.
Many patients won’t outright tell you they feel anxious about dental treatment, so it helps to open up lines of communication regarding any anxiety they may have. This doesn’t have to be a face-to-face conversation, either (which could cause even more anxiety in patients). It can be as simple as sending out a survey to new patients asking them about their previous dental experiences. Buried within this survey could be a question or two about possible anxiety they may have felt in the past. This can help you gauge how to deal with new patients before they even step foot in your office.
When you treat patients, make them aware of everything that you will be doing before they do it. A lot of anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect next. Constant communication during treatment can help put patients at ease.
Make Them Comfortable
You can’t cure a patient’s anxiety, but you can help them reduce the impact it has on their dental experience. Making your office a more comfortable place to be treated, while providing ample distractions, can make a huge difference in a patient’s time there.
When treating patients with anxiety, provide them with some of these amenities:
- Dental headrest pillows
- Entertainment (music, TV, tablets, books, etc.)
- Fidget toys
There are also changes you can make to your office that can help create a more calming environment, including:
- Using neutral tones (grays, beige, etc.) for paint and furniture colors
- Reducing clutter
- Having a private waiting area for anyone who is feeling anxious
- Dim the lights
- Add some greenery (real or fake plants) to the office space
- Battery–powered candles or other types of mood lighting
Crescent dental chair accessories are the perfect way to keep patients comfortable during treatment. Shop today to help put your patient at ease.