It’s a well known fact that many people can suffer a degree of anxiety in advance of receiving dental treatment. This discomfort can vary considerably across individuals, ranging from a slight aversion to a full-blown fear of visiting the dentist.
Fortunately, trained dental assistants can employ a number of strategies to help patients feel at ease and make their experience as comfortable as possible. Effectively applying these techniques will improve a patient’s overall experience and help ensure essential care is administered.
Trained Dental Assistants Know Patient Communication is Key
For many patients, anxiety around dental visits can revolve around negative perceptions of painful procedures or tools. Effective dental staff can mitigate this by building a communicative rapport with clients from the moment they arrive in the dental surgery – learning names, being open and friendly, and listening attentively. By taking the time to explain, step-by-step, the process that will be undertaken – as well as the benefits of the treatment – patients can be brought on board as informed participants.
Through this communication, any points in the procedure that involve some amounts of pain can be very clearly signposted to clients, ensuring they have the ability to prepare themselves mentally for these experiences. By describing the process in neutral terms and outlining the expected levels of discomfort in advance, the patient can build a reassuring picture of what will occur, and dispel the ‘fear of the unknown’.
Allowing the Patient Time and Degree of Control Can Be an Effective Strategy
A good professional dental team will be able to ascertain the limits of their individual clients. The deciding factors for some will be a need to spend a few more seconds recovering from effects of certain processes, such as dental drilling or a tooth extraction.
Professionals with dental assistant training can ensure clients feel part of the care process by setting up a feedback system with patients, encouraging them to signal when they feel ready to move on to the next step of the process, or when they need a break.
These kinds of approaches give patients a degree of autonomy, allowing them to proceed within their own levels of tolerance. While this must be managed to ensure effective treatment, granting this limited level of control could significantly improve the patient’s sense of empathy with your staff.
Those with Dental Assistant Training Know That Engaging and Distracting Younger Patients Can Be Key
For children, a visit to the dentist can be a scary experience. Many of these patients cannot be expected to grasp the reason why they are receiving the treatment they are, and in these situations, dental assistant college graduates will gravitate towards other strategies.
One could be getting to know a young patient’s interests and distracting them with questions and engaging observations during difficult parts of the procedure. Congratulating and praising the child for good behaviour during the process is also a good strategy.
Additionally, by allowing a child to keep a reassuring personal article such as a toy or a teddy bear in their hands while receiving treatment, the overall stress level that they have to go through can be reduced. By employing these practices, and engaging the natural curiosity and communicative reflexes of younger patients, the majority of anxious moments during a dental visit can be softened or neutralized.
Do you want to grow to become a reassuring dental professional?
Contact Discovery Community College today to learn why dental assistant school could be the perfect choice for you.