Soothing Patient Concerns

As discussed previously, dental anxiety is a common issue that many people face in their lives. This has a big effect on dental clinics, both in the success of keeping appointments and also in how clinics can ensure a positive patient experience. Anxious patients will be a common occurrence at any dental practice. It is especially important to understand how to show compassion to these people, and how to detect patient anxiety when it might be taking place. 


Patients will not always tell you that they are feeling anxious. Unfortunately, most patients will feel embarrassed by the fact that they are nervous about their dental appointment. It is essential to demonstrate to all patients that you understand and empathize with their anxiety, and that it is okay to feel nervous. Even if they do not tell you outright whether or not they are feeling anxious about their appointment or upcoming procedure, it is a great idea to train yourself on how to spot it. 


Take a look at the list below of the possible signs of dental anxiety:


  • Restlessness: The patient may shift or fidget in their seat or exhibit other signs of restlessness.
  • Sweating: A person who is feeling anxious may start to sweat or feel hot.
  • Increased heart rate: Anxiety can cause an increase in heart rate, which may be visible in the patient’s chest or neck.
  • Avoiding eye contact: An anxious person may avoid making eye contact with the dentist or other staff.
  • Clenched jaw or tense muscles: The patient may clench their jaw or have tense muscles, particularly in the neck or shoulders.
  • Difficulty communicating: The patient may have difficulty speaking or may speak in a quiet or hesitant voice.
  • Visible fear or distress: Some patients may show more obvious signs of fear or distress, such as crying or shaking.



Showing compassion towards anxious patients will soothe their anxieties and make them feel more welcome, and at ease. Sometimes, the only difference that a patient might need in order to feel at peace about their appointment is a positive environment and a compassionate team!