Oral Health Resources | 22 August, 2019

“Removing the Unknown” Key to New Patient Anxiety

Taking those first steps into a practice as a new patient can be a daunting experience.

Perhaps it’s the thought of letting a complete stranger gaze into your mouth, or perhaps it’s a past experience which brings back memories you’d rather forget!

Whatever the reason, many new patients walk through the doors of a practice wondering what they have gotten themselves into.

Yes some patients are long term ones (like this patient of 35 years!) but many going to the dentist will be meeting a new dentist for the first time.

First of all, dentists want you to know that you are not alone. Anxiety around dentistry is one of the main reasons people put off seeing the dentist.

Second of all, know that dentists learn pretty quickly how to best look after nervous or anxious patients, as the majority of them have some level of anxiety!

Dr Haris Redzepagic of Lumino New Lynn says most dentists will know that kindness and gentleness will go a long way for anxious patients.

“It’s important to remember that dentistry is about treating patients and not the teeth,” he says.

“A patient is more likely to have a positive experience if they sense a feeling of empathy and effort from their dentist,” he says.

Haris says he will spend extra time making sure new patients feel comfortable if he senses they are nervous about the appointment.

He says the majority of fear in a patient is of the unknown.

“I’m keen to remove that unknown so the patient doesn’t feel “at the mercy” of the dentist, which a lot of them have told me they commonly feel.”

New Lumino patient Anj came to see Haris for a second opinion on a possible root canal and said he put her at ease with his expert attention.

“It was a good decision to see Dr Haris as he confirmed my tooth could still be fixed/revived with a more conservative method.”

“He even gave me options and suggested which he thinks would suit the state of my tooth. He gave me detailed explanation on my treatment plan, how’s and why’s were discussed clearly,” she says.

Anj said her previous appointments felt rushed and she didn’t have a say in her treatment.

However Haris let her explain her concerns and they worked on a treatment plan together.

Haris says in the past, he has seen his patients become more comfortable once their fears are addressed which in turn builds their confidence in his advice/treatment.

“This shows the patient that my passion is to improve their oral health rather than simply earning a living,” he says.