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8 Tips for Caring for Anxious Patients

Caring for anxious patients is not without its challenges, as clinicians must practice various strategies to make the appointment as stress-free as possible.

Caring for anxious patients is not without its challenges, as clinicians must practice various strategies to make the appointment as stress-free as possible. Here are 8 tips for caring for anxious patients.

1. Acknowledgement

Make sure the patient knows you are aware of his or her worries. Discuss any concerns, as well as treatment and pain control options.

2. Tell-show-do

Thoroughly walk the patient through the procedure by telling him or her what will be done, show him or her what is involved, and, lastly, perform the treatment.

3. Communicate

Check in with the patient throughout treatment, offer a smile, and provide verbal praise and positive reinforcement.

4. Just breathe

Many people swear by breathing exercises for stress reduction. Consider showing patients deep breathing strategies, or help them find a soothing place in their mind, as they close their eyes and breathe slowly.

5. Let parents in

When a pediatric patient exhibits separation anxiety or a fear of strangers, it’s wise to allow a parent to accompany the child into the operatory. Parents can hold the child during the examination, or be a soothing presence as the clinician provides treatment.

6. Distractions

Sometimes all a patient needs is a little bit of a distraction to take the edge off. Watching a TV show or movie or listening to music may be the perfect solution to quell anxiety.

7. Control

Help patients feel in control of their appointment. Establishing a signal system will let them indicate if a break is needed, or if everything is going well.

8. Medication

Dental professionals can also suggest pre- and post-medication, as well as conscious sedation, if behavioral and psychological approaches do not work for the patient.

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