6 proven ways to calm nervous patients with dental anxiety

By: Jamie Finch

If a patient feels too anxious before a procedure, it can make the dentist’s job much more difficult. While it is important that you calm patients with dental anxiety as much as possible, this can be easier said than done.

However, there are effective methods of calming patients that you can easily incorporate into your practice.

How to treat patients with dental anxiety?

Here are some of the best ways to calm a nervous dental patient:

Create a soothing environment

The wrong environment can increase a patient’s anxiety, so it makes sense to make your dental office as calming as possible. One way to achieve this is to avoid clutter. Opening up the space by removing unnecessary furniture can make a big difference.

When creating a peaceful environment, consider all aspects of the room. Think of furniture, floors, ceilings and walls. Rather than keep blank walls or decor that probably needs an upgrade, consider prints or originals from local artists.

Remember, you can attach artwork to the ceiling so your patients have something to look at while reclined in the chair. If you don’t want to hang framed artwork over their heads, consider more gravity-friendly options like posters or even custom tapestries.

Having something in the room to focus on will be a welcome distraction while your patient is undergoing a procedure.

Provide pleasant distraction

While wall decoration is a great way to distract patients, you can go even further. Add TVs or digital signature can help people mentally leave the dental office. For example, cartoons or other family-friendly media in the waiting room can take the stress out of waiting for their name to be called.

Another option is to play music or provide patients with headphones so they can listen to tunes, podcasts, or other media on their device. You can even offer them a tablet preloaded with content that will keep them engaged.

Reduce noise

The sound of a dentist’s drill is a nightmare for many people, so being exposed to the noise while waiting is likely to make matters worse. While it’s almost impossible to avoid using drills, you can reduce the amount of noise that enters your office.

Consider soundproofing your rooms to keep the noise in as much as possible. Soundproofing doesn’t have to be expensive, and even a few simple measures can make a big difference.

Add pleasant aromas

Our memories are closely related to our sense of smell† If the smell of disinfectant or other chemicals that are common in the dental office reminds the patient of an unpleasant experience, it can cause them to become anxious.

Concentrate on eliminating odors that can trigger negative memories and replace them with pleasant ones. Consider oil diffusers or other methods to permeate calming odors throughout the office and mask unpleasant odors.

The right scents can not only cover up unwanted odors, but they can also have a calming effect on their own.

Recommend calming supplements

It has long been known that herbs and other plants can have medicinal effects on our bodies, and some herbs can help us stay calm. If a patient is particularly concerned about their dental appointment, supplements may be able to ease the nervousness.

Newer supplements such as full extract cannabis oil (FECO) can help people stay calm and are safe to use. Just a few drops under the tongue and the patient can feel much better within 20 minutes.

However, anyone considering taking medications or other supplements to keep him calm should check with their doctor first. This is especially important if the patient is expected to be under anesthesia, because of the risk of adverse drug reactions.

Use reassuring words

Calming words may not be a new method of calming patients, but they are among the most effective. If you notice that a patient looks particularly nervous, talk to him reassuringly so that he knows that everything is going to be okay.

A soft voice and a smile can go a long way, especially with children.

Consider training your staff on how to deal with anxious patients. If everyone commits to choosing their words empathetically, the effort will make your patient’s experience more enjoyable.

Help improve your patient experience

Calming patients with dental anxiety is an important part of good customer service and improving their experience. But your efforts don’t have to be completely altruistic. Calm patients will not only make your workday easier, but it will also be good for your bottom line.

Everyone needs to go to the dentist, and if your practice offers the best experience, they are more likely to come back.

photo by Jonathan Borbach On Unsplash

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