Nervous Patients Don’t Scare Sarah!
Believe it or not I look forward to meeting nervous patients for the first time! I find it is a real challenge, and one that I relish! I’ve learnt, over 20 years in the dental field, to try and get into the psyche of nervous patients and try to undo all the damage caused by past dental experiences.
That is the key; to be empathetic and to help the patient clear any negativity associated with going to the dentist, and replace it with a new, happy, relaxing dental experience.
Nervous patients usually present as one of two patient types:
1. Obvious and vocally nervous patients, who are sometimes shaking and even crying before they even meet you! They wear their hearts on their sleeve.
2. Patients who are very quiet and abrupt and even come across as rude. It’s necessary to understand that these patients are just as nervous, and often equally embarrassed to be seen to be nervous, and don’t take their behaviour personally.
The first appointment is about putting the patient at ease and reassuring them they are in the right place. This is down to the whole team. The receptionist who books them in and sends them our welcome pack, the TCO who meets and greets them and takes dental history and X-rays, and the dental nurse, dental hygienist and dentist. The Woodborough House team are all trained to put the patient at ease and deliver the ultimate in customer service.
It is also important to establish why the patient is nervous. For some it is the whole dental visit, whilst for others it is the injection, the sound of the drill, claustrophobia or even a fear of cotton rolls! Whatever the reason, these issues can all be addressed in many ways. At Woodborough House we have made many technological advances in our equipment to ensure the experience is as physically comfortable as possible. We have a dental wand, which delivers a pain free injection with no syringe. We also offer air abrasion, which is drill-less dentistry with no injections, and most recent of all is our Ozone machine, which again aids in drill free dentistry, as well as providing an even more hygienic and eco-friendly overall clean. In addition to all of this, we offer oral and IV sedation with an expert anaesthetist for those patients who’d rather sleep soundly through their procedures.
Most importantly, though, we have plenty of time, patience and commitment to win the trust of the patient. We can assure them that their fears are not thoughtless or stupid, but can be overcome, explain any procedure to the point where no panicked curiosity remains and, eventually, hopefully “cure” them of their fear altogether. It is without a doubt the most rewarding part of my job, to be able to take a nervous patient and work with them until eventually they come regularly, and happily, to see me!
See for yourselves the difference that we’ve managed to make here at Woodborough House by having a quick look at just a few of the patient testimonials that I am so very proud of:
“Just a quick note to say thank you for taking so much care over me!! I can honestly say that you have almost cured me of my lifetime fear of the dentist. Thank you so much” – Robert Foster
“Just a quick note to pass on my thanks to everyone at the Woodborough House Practice for the wonderful service I’ve received over the last couple of years. I’m quite nervous by nature and like many others a visit to the dentist fills me with fear. But I get such a warm and friendly welcome each time I come through the door that my anxiety soon evaporates. You all make me wonder what all the fuss was about!” – Janet Meade
“Today I had an hour and a half appointment to have a crown fitted. It was a breeze! I came to this practice a very nervous client and am not having great experiences with my dentist. I no longer dread the dentist – the entire staff here are lovely. Thank you for giving me my teeth and smile back” – Michelle McCarthy
“I have been nervous about dentistry my whole life, after treatment here I can safely say that fear has been conquered. A huge thank you to everyone who has helped me here” – Alex Harris
“That was the most comfortable filling – brilliant! You were very kind with my nerves too. Almost happy to be at the dentist!” – Celia Clarke
Best wishes from all of us at Woodborough House,
Sarah Fitzharris – Practice Co-Owner.