Fear of visiting the dentist – an easy option!

nearly one in three adults do not see a dentist for up to ten years at a time due to anxiety.

it’s important for dentists to offer the best possible patient experience.

We take a look at some dental clinics to see how they deliberately create an angst-free patient experience.

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Consideration of the practice décor

One of the most important things you can do to help alleviate dental anxiety is to set up your dental practice to be as comfortable as possible. It may sound trivial, but use soft colours in the décor, so that it’s a little less clinical. Soft background music may also be worth considering. Many clinics play radio rather than pre-selected music in order to create a familiar environment. The clinic’s entrance and waiting area are critical in achieving an instantly relaxing environment for a patient. Dentists should consider their clinic from a patient’s perspective. This is the journey from the “safety” of the outside world to the fearful inner sanctum of a dental clinic.

how does your clinic measure up?

The first thing an anxious patient wants to see is cleanliness and efficiency. Any sign of deliveries or other clutter is a phobic stimulant. The clinic must look and smell like a welcoming place and this includes reception staff.

While it seems clichéd, having interesting posters or artwork or even a TV screen on the ceiling above the chair can offer a useful distraction for an anxious patient.

Having created a pleasant environment, dentists also consider their equipment in the clinic.

make it a relaxing experience

Great attention must be given to the hygiene of the clinic. This makes for a very sterile space through necessity. This clinical environment can be softened with the use of comfortable chairs in subtle pastel shades. If an anxious patient is asked to lie back on a bright red chair, for example, this will trigger fearful thoughts of blood, anger and anything but tranquillity. Softer tones of blues, yellows and greens stimulate the patient to be more relaxed.

If you know that your dentist has taken steps to create a relaxing environment for you, you will be less stressed about the reason you are visiting. When you visit your dentist, you know that you will have to open your mouth and that they will have to examine your teeth, gums and tongue. This is basic, but when an anxious patient accepts this, then the rest of their treatment becomes easier. If your dentist calmly talks you through each step of the examination, then the treatment itself becomes more comfortable.

Your dentist may use specific equipment such as an oral scanner to clearly identify any issues you may have. Remind yourself that you will be healthier, happier and even more attractive after this visit.

new sedation techniques

Sedation is an option for many anxious patients and your dentist will be able to advise on this. There are many different types.  For example, new technology is available so syringes are no longer needed. Some anxious patients consider hypnosis before treatment and this works well for them. Ask your dentist how they can help with your dental phobia and listen closely to their suggestions.

Modern day dentistry is not something to be feared. Not going to your dentist is something to be feared! The benefits of a healthy mouth are considerable, probably way beyond what you currently believe. The next time you treat yourself to a pampering in a salon, think also about pampering your teeth! You can find a dental clinic near you which has given every consideration to dental anxiety and will make your visit to your dentist a happy one!

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