Nervous Patients – How can you help a nervous patient?

Dr. Dattani explains: 90, 95 per cent of my patients are nervous. One nervous patient sees me recommends another nervous patient, so here at Kent Smile Studio we actually enjoy our nervous patients. We do it because we feel we can interact with them much much more and we gain their confidence. The way we do that is that we treat them as if they’re coming into their own home or a relative’s home. From the minute they walk in to the minute they walk out, we make sure at every stage that they’re looked after well. We try and find out what’s made them nervous, usually a previous traumatic experience, the old gas mask coming as we were children that’s a usual one, or the army dentist working without anaesthetic. These are what have made people nervous, sometimes they don’t know why they’re so nervous, sometimes it’s because their parents were nervous. To find out the reason of the nervousness helps me work out how I’m going to treat them. A lot of times it’s basically explaining the procedure to the patient, being slow, taking out time and doing every methodically so the patient’s fully aware of what’s going on without surprising them. To the other extreme where someone doesn’t even want to sit in that chair. They walk in after they have walked past the surgery four or five times and physically have made them feel sick by actually not being able to walk into the surgery. We have those sorts of patients that actually turn up with toothache, can’t even sit in the chair so I’ll examine them while they’re standing up, I’ll examine them in the waiting room. They don’t need to be in that chair until they’re ready, until they’re comfortable. It’s all about gaining their trust, actually trusting us to look after their dental health. It’s very very invasive, I’m very close to that patient, I’m invading someone’s personal space and I think dentists need to understand, patients can be quite taken back that we’re actually that close to them. So keeping that distance initially with that patient so you don’t feel like I’m trying to get into their mouths. Only using a small amount of instruments only a mirror, even just my fingers and having a look. It all depends on what the nervousness is caused by. To the other extreme of where they will not be able to cope with any dentistry while they’re still with it so we offer a service called sedation. Sedation is injection in the back of the hand that makes you sleepy and drowsy so you don’t know whatís going on, you don’t care what’s going on. In fact most people forget the whole experience of the dentistry and wake up actually thinking they’ve been asleep but I say to my patients and I challenge them that one day you will have dentistry without sedation and usually we’re right because I come back to it, its all to do with trusting someone, the minute you gain their trust you’re no longer nervous and that’s what we try and do here, we try and make you part of the family so you trust us all from reception to nurse to dentist.

One Response

  • Cheryl beadle says:

    Good afternoon

    I enquiring about my mother of 78, who is in a wheelchair. Unfortunately after phobias of dentist s since a child her teeth are in u terrible state. Probably about 8 stumps. She is now able to want to have this sorted This will not be a nice job for a dentist. I am wondering if this is something you will consider or know of any one who would.

    She is able to pay private if necessary.

    Regards. Cheryl

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