Learn how to deal with anxious dental patients. 

How your dental team can ease a patient’s anxiety

How your dental team can ease a patient’s anxiety


OMG Admin

April 28,2021

It’s a dental team’s job to make patients feel comfortable and receive proper care. Everyone needs to be prepared to deal with any kind of patient, especially those with dental anxiety. 

Here is how dental teams can spot dental anxiety and how to deal with anxious dental patients. 

What is dental anxiety? 

Dental anxiety, also known as dental phobia, is used to describe a person’s fear or anxiety when visiting a dentist’s office. There is no one cause for dental anxiety. The reason for being afraid of dentists varies depending on the person. A person can develop dental anxiety due to an unpleasant childhood experience, fear of pain, needles, drills and losing control. 

Signs your dental patient has anxiety

As a dental professional, it is important to learn how to spot an anxious dental patient. People with dental anxiety are more likely to avoid making regular dentist visits. This could put them at risk of dental problems. Here are some signs your patient has dental anxiety

  • Feels and looks nauseous 

  • Avoids dental treatments 

  • Jump with the sound of drills or other dental equipment

How to deal with anxious dental patient

Use caring and comforting words

The last thing your dental team wants to do is make a patient even more anxious. One way to help anxious patients is by using empathy. Tell your dental staff to listen to the patient's concerns and fears with compassion and use caring words. 

This method builds trust with dental patients and reduces their anxiety. As a dentist, you can show empathy by walking patients through their dental procedures and avoiding triggering words. For example, you do not want to use words like "sharp," "pain" and "needles." 


Make the office more calming

The first thing your dental patients do is check in with your receptionist and sit down in your waiting room. Did you know that the design of your office can impact a patient’s emotions? 

Dentist offices that are designed wrong can actually increase a patient’s dental anxiety. Take time to design an office that is more calming. Your team can make the dentist office more relaxed by:

  • Painting it calming colors like greens and blues

  • Using relaxing scents 

  • Keep the office at room temperature

  • Providing forms of entrainment for distraction


Schedule appointments accordingly 

When it comes to setting up an anxious dental patient’s next appointment, think about the time your receptionist sets it. Setting appointments too late in the day can cause patients to feel anxious longer. It is recommended for dental teams to set appointments as early as possible for the patient. This will prevent patients from feeling anxious all day long. 


Offering them conscious sedation

As a dentist, you have the opportunity to tell your patient about sedation options that can ease their anxiety. Conscious sedation, also referred to as minimal sedation, is one option available. This dental sedation is administered through an oral sedative that helps ease a patient’s anxiety.

To administer conscious sedation, you need to demonstrate you have completed the approved training and maintained conscious sedation certification for dentists. These requirements help you stay up-to-date with the latest and safest methods of administering conscious sedation. 

Looking for conscious sedation certification for dentists? 

Let Midwest Sedation Consultants help! We offer online courses for conscious sedation recertification. Our courses are taught by professionals and approved by individual Boards of Dentistry. Enroll in a course today!