Getting anxious patients to accept treatment can be challenging. If they’ve had a bad experience in the past or heard disturbing stories from family members, they might find it difficult to put trust in you and your team members—and that means they don’t get the care they need.
Educating patients is one way to earn that trust. When patients truly understand why treatment is important and know exactly what to expect, it helps put some of their fears to rest. Offering patient education also gives you a chance to start building connections, again earning their trust and making them more comfortable saying yes to treatment.
Here are a few ways to provide effective education to even the most fearful patients:
1. Use an intraoral camera. Showing patients exactly what’s going on in their mouths helps them understand the need for treatment. They no longer have to take your word for it; they can see for themselves. Show them the images taken with the intraoral camera as you tell them exactly what problems you see and how you plan to fix those problems.
2. Address their concerns. Anxious patients often have very specific concerns. Find out what they are and tailor your education.
3. Show them educational videos. This can be a great way to educate patients about a procedure you’re recommending or a condition they have. Discuss the video with them once it’s over and ask them what questions they have.
4. Give them brochures. Educational brochures can help re-enforce what you’ve already discussed. Patients can also share these brochures with their significant other when they get home, making it easier to remember and talk about treatment options.
5. Get your team involved. While you should provide education during the appointment, you may need help from your team members as well. Patients often feel more comfortable asking your team members questions, so make sure they’re prepared to answer. Train team members to see every patient interaction as an opportunity to educate and make sure messages stay consistent no matter who’s talking to your patients.
Many patients experience dental anxiety, but some of that anxiety might stem from a lack of education. Take the time to provide that education to help ease patient fears and to make them more likely to accept treatment.