According to an article by Colgate, approximately 9-15% of Americans avoid going to the dentist. The primary reason – fear and dental anxiety. To think about it another way, 9-15% of America equates to about 30 to 40 million people.
That’s a lot of patients who aren’t going to the dentist regularly, and who don’t have a positive view about their current dental office.
Why should your dental practice care about patients’ dental anxiety?
In an industry as saturated as dentistry, it’s important to keep patients as happy as possible. Patients who have a good experience at your practice are more likely to leave positive reviews online, and refer your practice to their friends and coworkers.
By helping your patients deal with their dental anxiety, they will also be more likely to accept their treatment plans and schedule regular appointments, resulting in increased revenue.
With that being said, here are 4 easy ways to help patients with dental anxiety:
One of the scariest things for a patient with dental anxiety is they don’t know what to expect from their appointment or operation. To help ease their anxiety, talk them through every step of the dental work – pausing to make sure they understand you, and seeing if they have any questions.
Whenever possible, pair your explanation with visuals. You can do this by showing your patients the tools you’ll be using, demonstrating the motion of the dental work on a set of fake teeth, and by showing them X-rays of their mouth on a high brightness, quality dental display.
Once the patient knows the details, they can anticipate each of your actions. This confidence in knowing what you’re going to be doing takes the surprise factor out of their appointment or operation.
2. Ensure staff are trained
Patient anxiety at the dentist is not limited to the dental treatment chair. It starts the moment a patient walk in the door, and often follows them as they go home. To help patients feel at ease throughout the entire dental process, ensure staff is trained and on the same page. This means everyone from the receptionist to dental hygienists should be familiar with dealing with patient anxiety.
3. Make sure patients are comfortable
Is your office unusually cold? Would your younger patients prefer to have their parents in the room? Do your dental display monitors have a TV option to keep patients entertained? These are all questions you should be thinking about in regards to your dental practice.
Some of these issues are quick fixes with the right technology. For example, the DENclarity dental monitor has an HD TV monitor built directly into it. With the added option of allowing patients to watch TV during their appointment, you’re creating a more comfortable, and inviting environment for patients.
Other issues relating to patient comfort may not be noticeable from a dentists’ perspective. The best way to determine these is by asking your patients directly whether they are comfortable or not, and asking how you can better accommodate them.