Nearly every dentist experiences a terrified patient who cannot relax on a daily basis. It’s a problem for dentist not just in American, but also around the world. Researchers in Jaipur, India, examined the annoyance and fear that the sound of dental drill causes patients to experience. A study of women in Brazil linked their level of anxiety to the dentist with socioeconomic factors. Dentists in the U.K., Singapore, and Turkey have all attempted to determine what type of clothing to wear in order to help sooth and comfort pediatric patients.
Despite what many patients may think, dentists sympathize with patient anxiety, and most take steps to help easy their patient’s dental fears. Here are a few ways dentists like Monroe dentist Dr. Travis Magelsen attempt to easy patient anxiety.
Understanding Dental Phobias
At a base level, letting a stranger put his or her fingers into your mouth isn’t something that feels very natural. It contrasts with our own survival mechanisms to allow some access to our vulnerable airways and sensitive gums. But individuals also suffer from more specific types of fear related to the dentist, called dentophobia or odontophobia. Some patients fear needles, while drills freak others out. They may also fear pain, choking, or gagging.
When patients confide about their anxiety – which will probably come across as pretty apparent anyway – don’t be surprised if Dr. Magelsen takes a moment to discuss what may be their biggest fear. Simply opening a dialogue about their fear will immediately help many patients feel better about their visit, and help them figure out the best way to cope. Remember, dentists are regular people, not robots that graduated from dental school. So don’t feel self-conscious about opening up and expressing what your most afraid of with Dr. Magelsen.
What to wear can be tricky for dentists, especially when treating younger patients. Studies about what dentists should wear when treating younger patients have had surprisingly mixed results. A study conducted in Singapore and published in the European Archives of Pediatric Dentistry found that both children and adults preferred dentists to wear personal protective equipment. The Singaporean children and those who participated in a U.K. study preferred dentists who were informally dressed, while children in Turkey preferred dentist in more professional attire.
Encouraging Self Care
Dr. Magelsen wants to help patients help themselves. This can include offering reassurance that all a patient needs to do is signal if they need more Novocain during a dental procedure. Encouraging patients to close their eyes, put on headphones, and listen to some calming music. Encouraging patients to zone out during a procedure so they don’t focus on the treatment at hand. Through better patient communication, Dr. Magelsen strives to address patient needs and allay their fears as they arise during an appointment.