Dental offices can be a scary place for kids and adults alike; strangers, drills, needles, and the stress of a procedure can make each visit to the dentist a struggle for families. To help your patients relax, try one of these techniques. You'll see a marked improvement in your patients' moods.
The Entry: Friendly Smiles
One of the best ways to immediately alleviate fear is to make sure your staff greets children and adults with a smile. Your staff members should offer parents support in any way they can throughout the signing-in process. It may help for the staff to:
- Introduce themselves by name to the parents and the children
- Make sure to speak warmly to children to make them feel welcome
- Take the time to learn a little something about the child who has come for an appointment and to mark it down on a patient note file for future reference.
Taking time to get to know patients and to greet them will help them feel welcome and like they belong in the office.
The Waiting Room: Interesting Activities
Activities keep your mind off what's going on around you. There are several things you can provide in your waiting room that can help keep kids and parents comfortable while they wait.
- Try to use individual chairs and sofas in your office waiting area. Some children may want to cuddle with their parents while they wait. Others may want to sit and read quietly or to play a game on their own.
- Provide games, like video games or building block kits, in your waiting room. Children will enjoy themselves as they wait instead of worry about what's to come.
- Provide magazines, but also consider providing television or computer services in the waiting room. Sometimes, parents need to check an email or have a show they'd like to catch as they wait for their child's appointments to end.
The Appointment: All Smiles with Prizes and Laughs
One thing to remember is that children don't manage stress in the same way as adults. They may strike out in fear or cry because of not knowing how to deal with it. To help avoid this, allow the child's appointment to be a fun experience through laughter and even a little bribery.
One way you can do this is to joke with older children or to have puppets perform procedures for children (when possible). Things like showing a child how to brush his or her teeth correctly could be done with a little puppet's help, which may help lighten the mood.
At the end of an appointment, you should always reward the child with a new toothbrush, stickers, or other treat. Whether or not they did well, tell them they were good to see and make sure they leave with a smile.
With these tips and tricks, you should find that your appointments are fun, uplifting experiences. With a few changes, your office can be a fun place for anyone to visit. You can also seek advice from other experts like Associated Family Dentistry LTD.