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Updated by Town Hall Dental on Nov 18, 2015
Headline for 5 ways dentists can reassure nervous patients
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5 ways dentists can reassure nervous patients


Dentists can be more sympathetic

For people who are nervous about going to the dentist, the experience is made all the worse by a dentist who is unsympathetic to their fears and anxieties. A more sympathetic and compassionate dentist can talk to their patients about their anxiety and design a treatment to make them feel more at ease.


Dentists can give a detailed explanation of any dental procedures involved

Before treatment, it can help for a dentist to fully explain any procedures involved. Breaking procedures down step by step in a simple and easy to understand manner can help them to seem less daunting to a nervous patient. It can also help for the dentist to allow a patient time to ask any questions they may have about treatment. In many cases, when a patient has a better understanding of the treatment they need, it isn’t so daunting after all.


A dentist can recommend things that a patient can do to relax

When we feel anxious, it is easy for us to work ourselves up into a state of panic, however there are techniques that we can use to calm ourselves down and relax. Dentists can encourage nervous patients to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, both leading up to and during treatment.


Patients can be given a sense of having more control

For many patients, one of the biggest fears of having dental treatment is the feeling of not being in control. As dental instruments are placed in the mouth, it is easy to feel a little overwhelmed and to gag or feel a little breathless. However, if treatment becomes too much, dentists can agree a ‘safe signal’ with their patients, so that if at any point they need to take a break, the dentist can stop what they are doing and help the patient to relax again before continuing with treatment. In some cases, for a patient to know that they can stop treatment if they feel uncomfortable gives them a sense of being in control, and makes them less nervous.


Sedation dentistry can help

Some particularly anxious patients need a little extra help relaxing during dental treatment. In these cases, dentists can offer intravenous sedation, a straightforward procedure where the patient receives a small injection (usually in the back of the hand) that helps them to feel drowsy and calm. Whilst patients are conscious and able to cooperate with a dentist during treatment, in most cases, they can remember very little afterwards. This type of treatment is particularly useful for patients that are undergoing more complex or lengthier treatments.