While some patients have learned to adjust to the drillings and fillings during a dental appointment, most patients usually walk into an appointment with weeks of built-up fear and anxiety. According to colgate.com, it’s been estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear. That's about 30 million to 40 million people. In order to build trust and develop lasting doctor-patient relationships, it’s important that you make patients feel secure, calm, and relaxed while they’re sitting in your chair.

 

1. Openly ask and acknowledge patients’ fears. Make sure to let your patients know that their comfort is their top priority, and if they have any concerns or are feeling anxious, to discuss them with you. When patients do open up and communicate their fears with you, be empathetic and nonjudgmental. Let them know that while you understand their fears, your goal is to make sure they leave your office with a mouth full of healthy teeth and gums.

2. Require patients to wear protective, colored eyeglasses. Let’s face it, no one willfully wants to stare into a bright, white light when their teeth are being poked and prodded. Providing a pair of colorful glasses will block out the glaring light from the lamp, and reduce the tension in an already nerve wracking situation. Not only do colored glasses reduce stress, they protect eyes from flying fluids and dental instruments. Our VER-RAY Safety Glasses filter out 99.9% of damaging UV and blue light. Purchase a few pairs for your office, here, and always offer them to patients. 

 

 

3. Install a television in each patient room. Providing a form of entertainment and amusement is a surefire way to distract a patient while they wait for you. To take it one step further, pre-set your channels to comedy networks, or channels that televise funny sitcoms. The lightheartedness of such programs or shows will put your patients at ease.

4. Play calming music throughout the entire office. Music therapy can be used to calm people, thereby reducing stress. As one of the easiest and most beneficial methods of calming a patient, it’s no wonder that healthcare professionals prefer this tactic over anything else.

5. Offer pain relief options. Usually, dentists offer topical anesthetics to numb the affected areas. In cases of extreme anxiety, speak to your patient about administering IV sedation to calm their nerves. Sedation therapy can also be applied with the use of nitrous oxide, better known as ‘laughing gas’. Additionally, patients can take a low dose of an oral sedative.

 

There are several methods you can use to calm fears and anxiety in patients, but it may take a few tries to figure out what works best for different patients. While visiting a dental office can be stressful for some patients, it’s important to understand their fears and provide a more comfortable experience.