Whether you’re a patient or a dental professional you’ll be aware that people suffer with dental anxiety. It’s dealt with by both sides on a daily basis, around 25% of people globally suffer from dental anxiety.
It may be the case that a reassuring dentist or sedation dentistry soothes some patients. However, for those with higher levels of anxiety, actually getting to the dental practice is hard enough so the mere sight of a waiting room could cause panic attacks.
At its worst, patient anxiety could erupt into belligerence, angry outbursts or a refusal to comply. Even doctors who rarely become flustered by uncooperative patients can have a hard time calming patients down when severe anxiety leads to a panic attack or anger. While empathy and sedation dentistry are useful in most cases, it’s also important to think about what kind of atmosphere you are presenting to patients.
Does Your Reception Area Feel Like a Waiting Room?
We’ve all been in those cheerless waiting rooms where the flickering neon lights reflect off white tile floors. You’re sitting in a chair that looks like it was purchased at a discount from a mediocre hotel’s conference room. The problem with this type of area is that it feels too much like a waiting room. And even if your reception area isn’t quite as dreary as the example listed above, it’s likely there are some steps you can take right away to make it more comfortable and welcoming.
Soothing Colours: A weekend spent applying some new paint to the walls can help make your patients feel more comfortable and at-ease. Light shades of blue and peach or pink pastels can make a room feel warm and uplifting. Shades of beige are also considered soothing if you’d rather go with something more traditional.
Lighting: Don’t rely on bright overhead lights to provide all the lighting. The ceiling lighting should be subdued, and preferably adjustable. Use lamps on the end tables to provide a soft, natural light throughout the reception area.
Furniture: Some nice comfortable chairs with real cushions and soft armrests are a great addition to any reception area. Some dental studios offer a mix of furniture and even add a sofa. Wooden end tables and coffee tables can help make a room feel much more comfortable.
Decorating: Having some art on the walls is an excellent way to make a reception area feel more calming. Lamps and a nice thick rug all promote comfort and relaxation and can help set your patients at ease.
To conclude, with a little redecorating in the reception area and a few simple additions like those mentioned above, your practice could feel more welcoming and soothing. Creating an anxiety-reducing atmosphere doesn’t have to cost the world, and it can be phased in over time. Of course, this is not a replacement for attentive caring, and excellent communication skills, but a useful addition.
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