What Makes Dental Patients Comfortable?

By Casey Culberson
Posted in News, on April 12, 2016

What Makes Dental Patients Comfortable?

It’s not hard to see why people tend to go back to a dentist they feel comfortable with. Having dental work done can make people anxious, and having a friendly and communicative dentist makes a world of difference for someone who is worrying about their procedure. But do dentists always know when a patient isn’t comfortable?

A study in The Journal of The American Dental Association found that this isn’t always the case. The good news was that 86 percent of patients rated themselves as satisfied when they left the dental office. The bad news was that out of 726 patients who were not satisfied, the dentist was only aware in 42 cases.

The numbers were also very similar for patients’ ratings of dentist friendliness. Over 90% of dentists were rated as friendly, but very few of the dentists who received a less than satisfactory rating of their friendliness actually identified that they had been perceived as unfriendly.

What the study is saying is that the vast majority of dentists are good at providing a friendly and comfortable environment for their patients, but when patients don’t feel comfortable, their dentists are rarely aware of it. Much of this seemed to stem from the patient's desire for greater communication during procedures, a relatively easy fix. It can be easy for a dentist to get caught up in their work and not provide as much information as a patient would like, and conversely, some patients may feel reluctant to ask questions. In these situations, it never hurts to over-explain, or ask if the patient has any questions before beginning.

But are there some other ways that dentists can make their patients’ procedures more comfortable? There actually are some simple ways to increase a patient’s comfort and reduce stress.

  • Use less direct and glaring fluorescent lighting in your office. Flooding spaces with high light levels actually contributes to discomfort and tension. Using indirect and warm lighting when possible will help your patients relax, and actually make the room seem more spacious.
  • Try changing up your waiting room furniture. It doesn’t have to be anything special, but making sure your waiting room isn’t filled with identical, generic chairs and end tables helps promote a more natural, inviting look.
  • Make them feel at home with their favorite show or movie. Playing a familiar movie during the procedure can help reduce stress by taking the patient’s mind off what you’re doing, and making them feel more at home. But instead of mounting an expensive TV on your wall that will be at an odd angle for a patient, try using the Molar Media Mount. It attaches directly to your dental light, and the arm can be angled so that your patient has a perfect view from any seating position. Simply clip in any tablet 16 oz. or less, and you’re ready to stream movies and television for your patient.

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about the Molar Media Mount.