Fear of discomfort and pain keeps many people from visiting the dentist each year. While not many people look forward to dental visits, there are ways to make it more comfortable and less stressful for patients. Regular dental visits mean early detection of potential problems, which in turn will make future visits less stressful.
Let Your Patients Know What to Expect
Not knowing what to expect during a dental procedure can make the entire process more intimidating. It is human nature to expect the worst when we don’t know what to expect. Explaining what is involved in the procedure and how it may feel go a long way in easing discomfort. Let patients know they are in control of the situation and can set the pace for treatment. This can go a long way in making them feel more at ease. Just reassuring the patient that they can take a short break during the procedure if they need a moment, or that they can break a more extensive treatment plan up into shorter visits, may be all that is needed to ease the patient’s discomfort. When someone is feeling anxious or fearful, just knowing that they have some control over the situation can be enough to ease their fear.
Discuss All Options
A patient that is facing an invasive and expensive procedure, such as tooth extractions, can easily find excuses to put off the visit. Unfortunately, these problems do not fix themselves. Discussing the various treatment options available allows the patient to feel they have some control over the situation and move forward with their treatment.
Make Sure They Are Comfortable
Once you have taken care of the emotional aspects of treating your patients, you should also ensure that their physical comforts are taken care of. What this means depends on the office set-up, the patient’s health, and the procedure being performed. Some patients want to undergo general anesthesia, have nitrous oxide administered, or have IV sedation. For others, the idea of sedation is another worry. The only way to know is to talk to the patient, explain what they can expect to feel, and let them know your recommendations.
Make it a habit to talk to your patients during procedures. Be sure to mention they can ask you not to chat if they like, but talking is a great way to distract them from what is going on. Explaining what they can expect, how much longer the procedure will take, and keeping it light with general chit chat is a great way to make patients more comfortable.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways dentists can keep patients comfortable during medical procedures. Using these methods helps to make appointments less stressful and patients more likely to return before larger issues develop.