Chances are most of your dental patients aren’t the fretful type. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t benefit from some additional pampering during visits, regardless of whether they’re routine cleanings or more involved procedures. These added touches will work wonders in ensuring your patients’ comfort.
1. Weighted blankets and fleece blankets
Not only will weighted blankets work to warm patients, but the weighted effect works to calm them too. Fleece blankets are more for warmth. They don’t have to be queen-size, but a throw size is sufficient for keeping an adult covered from torso to toes.
2. Ambient lighting
The clinical harshness of traditional treatment room lighting can be disturbing for patients who keep their eyes open during procedures. Try turning off the lights or having soft nightlight lighting in the room to make it more comfortable.
3. Televisions in your procedure room
A lightweight, flat-screen TV can be wall- or ceiling-mounted and patients can watch their favorite shows to distract them during procedures. Provide them with headphones that have sanitary, disposable ear covers so other patients aren’t disturbed.
You can provide music for your patients in several ways to give them control of what they want to listen to other than standard piped-in Muzak. Cable TV music channels, an in-office programmed iPad or patients own Smartphones are all easy ways of letting patients relax. Invest in inexpensive, disposable earbuds for patients who don’t have their own.
5. Sleep masks and eye pillows
What’s the difference? A sleep mask is traditionally a foam mask that covers the eyes and stays in place with an adjustable elastic strap that fits behind the head. Eye pillows are tiny rectangular fabric pillows filled with flaxseed and aromatics such as peppermint or lavender. They set over the patient’s eyes and stay in place with weight, not a strap. Both can be fitted with disposable sanitary covers or given to patients to bring with them each time they revisit.
6. Knee pillows
Despite most dental chairs having a rise at knee-level, it’s generally insufficient support for most patients, especially those who suffer from back pain, arthritis or other conditions. Most dental chairs are “one-size-fits-all” and really aren’t. You could use standard pillows folded over lengthwise within a pillowcase or rounded “knee rollers” traditionally used in physical therapy.
Try inexpensive clay diffusers with pure essential oils, such as lavender, orange or eucalyptus, to add to the environment.
8. Atmospheric sound machines
There are few sounds that could drown out a dentist’s drill, but gentle atmospheric sounds, such as rain, waves or singing bowls can help diffuse the harshness.
9. Memory foam headrests
Most dental chair headrests press into a patient’s head and neck instead of cradling them. Placing a headrest with a disposable sanitary cover could offer patients more comfort, especially during long procedures.
10. Lip balm
Patient’s lips can get chapped very quickly and can even become torn when spacers, vacuums and hot lights bombard them for hours. You can invest in wholesale flavored lip balms and print your contact info on stickers that attach to them and give them to patients at the end of their visit.
If patients are less stressed out and remember you and their office visit in a positive way, the more likely they’ll be to return to you for continued care. Plus, you’ll have an added benefit of being the dentist with a spa-like practice environment where patients are cared for and pampered.
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