Do a lot of your patients experience fear or anxiety when visiting your dental office? Here are a few ways you can help ease their fear with each appointment.
Dental anxiety and phobia affect millions of children and adults in Sydney each year. These negative feelings often cause people to put off their dental appointments until they absolutely need to go to the dentist, which may worsen their dental problems, making them more difficult to treat. As a dental care provider, how can you help people feel more comfortable in your office?
After an office fitout, you can use these strategies to help your patients feel less anxious and fearful about their visit:
1. Comfortable furniture
Patients will be more comfortable and relaxed in your office if you trade the rigid plastic chairs for some comfortable sofas, and the plain white walls with some warmer colours. Try to simulate the feeling of being in a living room at home rather than at the dentist’s office; add a coffee table, some ottomans, and a TV or bookcase that can entertain patients as they wait.
2. Children’s corner
Going to the dentist can be a nightmare for children, having associated the place with anxiety, fear, and even pain. With a children’s corner that is full of books, toys, and other stimulants, children can be distracted as they wait for their turn. It will put a stop to endless fussing and crying, while also replacing negative associations with fun and excitement.
3. Soft art and decor
A dentist’s office decor plays a significant role in patients’ behaviour towards dentist appointments. If you provide them with a soothing environment, anxious patients will be more likely to return on time for their next appointment. Similarly, an inviting office will attract new patients who are looking for a dentist that will ease their dental phobia.
Make your dental office and waiting room a relaxing, stress-free space with light-coloured walls, plenty of light, inviting art pieces, soothing background music, and some plants and flowers.
4. Offer some simple luxuries
Sitting in the waiting room has got to be the worst part of any medical appointment. But what if you can make the experience enjoyable? Offering small luxuries can go a long way. Things like complimentary coffee, free iced tea or lemonade, a small snack bar, or a charging station can change your patients’ whole outlook about going to the dentist. If they enjoy being in your waiting room enough, they may not even feel anxious about their dental appointments anymore.
5. Provide dental anxiety support
Hang up a sign in your waiting room that says: “If you are feeling scared or nervous, please approach a staff member for support.” The best way to help patients ease their dental anxiety is to talk them through it. By discussing these feelings with a dentist or staff member, a patient will be able to find ways to decrease their anxiety and discomfort.
The dentist’s office is not often a place of good memories for many of us. But with these useful tips, you can help your patients create a better experience when they visit your office.