How Do You Look After Anxious Patients?
Hi, I’m Dr Billy Choi, the principal dentist at Precision Dental here in Fortitude Valley.
A new patient, Rebecca from New Farm, had a dental procedure with us yesterday. She hasn’t been to a dentist in years. Unfortunately, she had a bad experience at her first dental appointment as a child, it was so painful that she never wanted to step into a dental clinic again. But now, she needs some work done. After reading our Google reviews, she decided to come and see us, and we were so glad she trusted our team.
We want to make sure our patients feel comfortable and relaxed from start to finish. That’s why our initial appointment is just a check-up and some x-rays to see the condition of the teeth and the gum. Unless it is an emergency appointment, that is all we will do on that day. Only when our patient is comfortable with the treatment plan that we schedule another appointment to start the procedure.
I’ve found over the years the one thing that makes the patients feel more comfortable is clear communication and no surprises. That’s why we make sure we explain exactly what’s involved in every step of the treatment.
Whether it’s going to involve some local anaesthetics, some drilling of the teeth, or there will be some noise, we give as much notice as possible so our patients get no surprises. This calms the patient, and they feel they are in control the whole time. Communication is number one.
The other key factor is time. We allocate plenty of time for all procedures. This way, the patient is never rushed. We take things extra slowly and gently for our anxious patients.
A common device that is very popular with our anxious patients is the happy gas, also called relative analgesia, which is administered during the course of the treatment. That really takes the edge off the patient, helping them feel more relaxed and anxiety-free.
We found that there are patients who are phobic of noise during the procedure. So we have noise-cancelling headphones that can distract the noise while they watch Netflix on our screen. Patients can also bring their own earphones and listen to their own preferred music.
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