Southern Ontario Dental College

News & Updates

5 Different Distraction Techniques to Calm a Patient’s Nerves in the Dental Office

Posted in Articles, Dentistry, News.

5 Distraction Techniques to Calm a Patient’s Nerves

How many people around the world do you think struggle with poor dental health? The World Health Organization estimates that it’s half of the world’s population.

For many, dental anxiety and fear prevent them from getting check-ups. Then, their oral health spirals downwards. As dentists, we need to distract our patients from this debilitating fear to give them the care they need.

What types of distraction techniques can dentists use to reduce patient anxiety? Read on to learn about our top five strategies.

1. Make a Safe Space

It’s obvious — dental drills, picks, and tools are intimidating. The last thing a patient wants to see as they walk to their seat is a bunch of scary tools.

That’s why you’ll find these items in a discreet place in most offices. Try to position the tools behind the patient’s chair if possible.

Distract your patients by focusing their attention elsewhere. Have their chairs facing a window or television. Make the room feel comfortable and safe. Achieve this by putting up paintings or comics on the wall.

2. Be Genuine and Communicate

If you’re already nervous, the last thing you want is a rigid conversation with your dentist.

You’ll need to strive to be genuine with your patient while communicating. Practice empathy, and ask the patient questions about how they’re feeling.

Let them know that part of your purpose is to help them manage uncomfortable dental symptoms. Make sure they’re informed at every step and encourage them to ask you about any concerns.

3. Give Them Something to Look At

We touched on this in the section above about making your office feel safe and comfortable. The best way to do this is to give your patients something to look at.

Dental offices around the nation are turning to televisions. It’s a great choice, and you can even ask your patients what they’d like to watch. Consider putting one screen on the ceiling so they can watch during procedures.

4. Let Your Patient Control Their Care Plan

Pushing a procedure a patient isn’t comfortable with isn’t helpful. In fact, it could damage your relationship with them.

Instead, make helpful recommendations. If you deem a procedure necessary, then let the patient know why. Always provide detailed information about the patient’s choices.

Always strive not to judge a patient based on their choices. Often, finances are a major hurdle for patients. So, let them control their own dental health plan without judgment.

5. Schedule Easy Visits

Researchers who study dental anxiety have found an interesting connection. People who visit the dentist more often experience less anxiety.

With this in mind, consider scheduling very minor appointments for your patients. In most cases, that means a simple cleaning. Encourage patients to visit the office on a regular basis.

Distraction Techniques That Work!

These five distraction techniques will make each visit easier. You want patients to feel as comfortable as possible. So, give these tips a try, and let us know how they work out!

Your patient’s anxiety won’t be your only concern as you learn to become a dentist. You’re likely to feel a little nervousness during your first procedures as well.

Be sure to read up on our latest news and updates for more tips as you navigate through school.

Seats are filling up quickly. SODC is NOW accepting applications. View Programs