As a professional who has worked in the field of dentistry, you are sure to have encountered patients who feel incredibly uncomfortable when it comes to dental procedures. The phenomenon is much more prevalent than might be expected; a very large proportion of people feel insecure due to lack of information, insecurity about their own personal dental situation, or painful past experiences.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make your patients feel more welcome, to put them more at ease, and to make the procedures more tolerable than patients might expect them to be. So how do you attract more patients and how do you make them more comfortable? Here’s how to make your dental patients more at ease when performing a dental procedure.
Give them control
One of the most distressful thoughts that might go through a patient’s mind is that they no longer have any control over the situation. Since you are working in the mouth of the patient, communication has a tendency to break down – and this is where hand signals come in. Explain to the patient that you can stop or pause the procedure at any time, and teach them a few basic hand signals so that the patient understands he or she can let you know how he or she feels at any time. Often the mere act of making those simple agreements before the procedure makes it all go more smoothly, and you and the patient have developed a bond of trust and new channels of communication.
It’s often best to let the patient sit in the dental chair as you ask questions and explain the procedure – familiarity with the surroundings goes a long way. Pre-treatment conditioning also involves showing pictures and asking about past experiences.
Your patient may be nervous – which is normal. These techniques may help:
- Deep breathing techniques. For some time, let your patient relax by taking deep and purposeful breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly.
- Guided imagery. Explain what will happen, and elaborate as it is happening.
- Muscle relaxation. Let the patient rest first, and focus on muscle relaxation from toe to head.
As you know, communication is incredibly important, and patients are willing to go the whole way without too much resistance if only you are able to reassure them that things are going to turn out just fine, and that the procedure itself is not going to be too stressful. It’s all about convincing the patient that it’s really going to be okay, and that the results are going to be great. One more thing: it also helps if you have the latest dental equipment supplies, as patients will feel more confident regarding your tools and methods. If you have updated equipment, patients tend to be more comfortable as well.
Image attributed to Blueprintdental.co.uk