Say Goodbye To Patient Anxiety
Patient anxiety is nothing new in the world of dentistry. Being scared of the dentist doesn’t only affect small children. It’s essential to know your dental team can help to keep patients relaxed and calm, and more importantly to ensure they come back in six months time!
Put the patient in charge
When a patient receives treatment for the first time, they're essentially putting themselves in the hands of a complete stranger. This can be a very distressing situation for the patient knowing that they won’t be in control for the duration of the appointment. So how do you overcome this?
Firstly, ensure the patient has a solid understanding of the work that’s expected to be done, along with the steps required to complete the treatment. Tell them exactly what you’ll be doing in layman's terms. This includes letting them know of any potential pain or discomfort. From here, give the patient authority to decide when the treatment starts. Be sure to ask them if they’re ready as opposed to heading straight in and asking them to open wide. It's worth asking patients to give a ‘pain signal’ if they feel any discomfort during the appointment. This puts the patient at ease knowing the treatment is being done on their terms.
Build rapport and reassure
Your new patient appears very uncomfortable and nervous. You may have seen it a thousand times before but for those who may not be so experienced, this is the perfect opportunity to make them feel at ease and gain repeat business.
Social skills are essential to being the number one dental professional in your area. Begin a conversation and if they appear nervous, don’t be scared to ask them about their fears. Doing so can be a very calming experience for the patient and could be the perfect ice breaker you’re looking for. What you need to remember is the fact that being scared of the dentist can be an embarrassing fear for some - particularly adults - so the way you handle their fear can be hugely important. It's important to use active listening here.
There’s nothing worse than keeping a nervous patient waiting. Early appointments are their best friend. Suggest they try to book an earlier time in order to keep wait times to a minimum. If they do find themselves having to wait, their anxiety will tend to become more and more obvious. Your dental nurse and receptionist can both help by keep the patient occupied both in the dental chair and in reception. A TV in the waiting room and asking them what their plans are today could have more of an impact than you think.
Our experienced Account Managers spend their day talking to dentists and practice managers, so they understand the challenges you face on the job. For more information on the dental consumables, small equipment and uniform that we offer, please click here. The NHS also have an advice page that's helpful for nervous patients.