5 changes in Dental Clinic to help decrease patient Anxiety and Stress

Dental Clinic can be a very intimidating place for a patient who is apprehensive or visiting the dentist for the first time or experienced a previous bad dental visit. It is very common for the patients to be having Fear and Anxiety during a dental visit. As a Dentist, we have to make sure the patient’s visit is as Stress-Free as possible and below are some of the changes which can be made to Dental Clinic.

There are many techniques which are useful in decreasing stress during dental treatment like Hypnosis, Acupuncture, Sedation, etc. We are concentrating on the Dental clinic and the changes to be made to help in making the patient overall experience Stress Free.

How to control Dental Anxiety in patients

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Dentists Approach:

This is one of the most important factors which will help patients to be at ease, how nicely the Dentist explains the patient about the treatment to be performed and the assurance which is given by the Dentists will possibly bring down 50-60% of the patients Anxiety levels before and during treatment. Not just the Dentist but the behavior of other members of the Clinic staff – Receptionist, Dental Assistant and other staff play a major role is making sure the patient is at ease in the Dental clinic. Many patients suffer from what is known as Dental Phobia or Fear of Dental Clinics which can be due to previous Dental Treatment or in General having the fear of Dentists or Dental Treatments.

With a simple and assuring approach like talking to the patients and giving them an understanding about the treatment to be performed keeps the patients at ease and decreases their anxiety levels considerably.

Clinic Ambience:

This is another major factor to influence the patient’s behavior, the first thing which the patient observes on entering the Dental Clinic / Hospital is the Ambience and with calm and soothing Receptions and waiting area, the patients mind is relaxed. With well responding and Receptionist and Staff, the patient feels at home in the surroundings. If there is too much noise and very unfinished or random interiors the patients first experience at the clinic will be confusing and stressful.

Calm and Soothing Music in the background can bring down stress considerably. A TV to keep the patients mind distracted is also helpful in many cases. When coming to the Working area, keeping the sounds on the lower side is very helpful, the compressor is the major sound producing equipment and placing it in another room or Lab area is the best solution. Electric Handpiece also eliminates the sound of the rotary handpiece as well.

Aquarium:

A well maintained aquarium has been known to bring down the patients anxiety and stress by looking at the fish. A research has shown that looking at aquariums and fish swimming around brings down your stress and tensions considerably and the same applies here in Dental Clinic. We have seen many Dental Clinics and even Hospitals to place Huge Aquariums in the Reception and in some Dental clinics in Working areas (most famous is the Dental clinic of Mark Zuckerberg’s father).

How to decrease patients Stress and Anxiety in Dental Clinic

Make sure that the Aquarium is well maintained and not left without cleaning from a long time which will make the water murky and even smelly which is a strict NO in the sterile environment which we have to maintain in the Dental Clinic.

Lighting and Music:

This comes under ambience but why I am talking about it separately and giving it more importance is because of the positioning and the brightness of the Lights in Dental clinic which have to be maintained. I have seen many clinics having the LED lights placed exactly above the patient’s head, this points the light directly into the patient’s eyes and as dental procedures are time taking it can induce headaches. Light and soothing music is also known to have a calming effect on the human mind and having music running in the background can help patients take their mind off and decrease the stress.

Some patients who suffer from Migrane might get an attack due to the prolong exposure to such high light directly in their eyes. This has to be kept in mind and plan the set up before hand by not placing the lights directly above the patient’s head. The Lightning across the clinic should not be too dimly lit or too bright. Music should not be intimidating with heavy metal or loud music which can inturn trigger stress in the patient, light, mild and soothing music can be a good option or just instrumentals have worked for me.

Post-op management:

This is one aspect which many Dentists do not give importance on, post-op patient management is one of the most important aspects which will give the patient a sort of assurance and confidence in Dentists and Dental Treatment on the whole. Good follow up after the treatment is done by placing a call on the next day to find out about the post-op health of the patient. In the case of children rewarding them with toys or Ice Cream (in case of Extraction) for Good behavior can help patients to come back to the Dentist without having any fear or anxiety on their next visit.

With good Post-op management, the cases on patients suffering Dental Phobia can also be drastically decreased. It in turn, helps in patients referring you to their friends and colleges leading to free mouth to mouth publicity for you and your Dental clinic.

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