Getting young patients to sit still can be a real challenge. Here are a few tricks you can try to get them to be still while you work on their teeth.
Bring In the "Specialist"
One fun way to make your patients enjoy a visit to your office is having your hygienist or nurses dress up as characters from popular shows. For example, if a new animated movie comes out and a character has become very popular, aim to have at least one person in the office ready to jump into costume to help children who are struggling with the appointment.
You could opt to keep a few costumes on hand, so if you are faced with a scared child who loves Snow White, your staff can quickly get into Snow White's costume. Likewise, if fairies are your patient's favorite characters, then you could have a few costumes on hand for your dental hygienist to wear during the appointment.
Kids bond quickly with representations of their characters, so this can be a good way to alleviate fear and have someone they love help them through their appointments.
Use Medically Trained Comfort Animals
Not all offices want to have pets or trained animals on site, but if your office is comfortable with it, considering having a medically trained comfort animal. This could be a small dog or even a cat that enjoys sitting in a patient's lap during a procedure. According to Animal Smart, interacting with therapy animals decreases stress by reducing the release of cortisol and increasing the release of oxytocin.
Because patients will feel more relaxed and suffer less anxiety, you should be able to finish the appointment efficiently and cause patients less pain.
Increase the Use of Media
Sometimes, it's the sound of the dental equipment that makes patients scared. You can reduce this discomfort by:
- Adding TVs to your dental office and having them on while patients are having their appointments.
- Allowing patients to listed to music with an MP3 player.
- Having interactive games that patients can play from the dental chair as you work. Of course, they need to make sure not to move much while you work, so calming games, like learning games, solitaire, or chess, may be the best kind of game for your office.
With these simple changes, your office can be more fun for young patients who may be nervous about going to the dentist. Try one of these changes, and you may be surprised by the results. For more information, consult with other professionals like Terry Droske.