It’s not a secret that a lot of people hate going to the dentist, but the specific reasons aren’t talked about that much. In fact, you have perhaps paid no attention to the ‘whys’ of fearful patients. Most likely because you assume that it’s just the pain they’re concerned about. But, more often than not, it’s not only the pain. If you would extend your care by listening to your patients’ concerns, you’ll know that what they’re anxious about are actually these little things:
The mere word can send chills to people sitting at the chair. And why wouldn’t it, right? The term makes you think of heavy-duty equipment needed for major, drastic repair work. That doesn’t sound very friendly, does it? Of course, there’s also the actual tool, which makes high-pitched whirring sounds and comes into contact with one of the most delicate parts of your body. Given these, avoid dropping the word ‘drill’ in your meetings with patients.
If you can also get those modern, noiseless dental drills, the better. Try to find those high-quality dental instruments online. Then, provide your patients with noise-cancelling headphones to further drown the unnecessary sounds. Finally, walk your patients through the procedure, particularly when you’re going to use the tools, so they know what to expect before you use whatever stuff that goes into their mouths.
The ‘worst mouth ever’
Believe it or not, even if your patients are deeply aware that you’ve seen every possible dental problem, they still think that you’re going to find something wrong that you’ve never encountered in their mouths. That’s why they would rather skip the dental appointments than find out what that problem is.
In some instances, they know that they’re riddled with issues, but they just don’t want someone validating it to them. Why? That just means they’re going to have to go back to the clinic and pay for extensive treatments. The irony is, the longer that they postpone getting checked out, the longer (and more expensive) the treatment may be.
When you do sense that your patient has this kind of fear, educating them about the bigger threats to their physical and financial health can hopefully help them overcome.
Yes, you may be the very reason your patients are avoiding dental appointments. You could be the source of their fear. Perhaps it’s the way you handle treatments, insensitive to the flinches and groans of your patients. It’s also probably the way you talk to them after procedures, not minding their insecurities about oral health or not caring to know what they feel about the treatment.
It’s not just high-quality service that makes people drawn to dentists. It’s the expression of compassion, too. Be a little more thoughtful of your patients. Give them a sense of control and try to keep a good, meaningful conversation with them before and after the procedure. They will appreciate you taking the time to understand their struggles.
Again, it’s not just the pain that’s causing your patients to be fearful of dental appointments. It could be the little things you’re not too aware of. Engage with them to know what exactly is making them fearful.