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5 ways to improve communication between dentist and patient

It’s no secret that the communication between dentist and patient is an integral part of dental appointments.


Especially if you are a nervous patient, it can be hard to vocalise your concerns or needs. 


However, it’s important to speak to your dentist because if you are in pain and it causes complications further down the line, then you could be eligible to claim dental negligence.  


If you do feel like you are entitled to dental negligence, our expert team can help! Get in touch with our specialists to find out more. 


In this guide, we’ll give our top tips on how best to communicate with your dentist to ensure your needs as a patient are listened to and, more importantly, met. 

Why is good communication between dentist and patient so important?

53% of the UK’s population are afraid of going to the dentist. So, if this is you, you can find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. 


As a patient in the dentist’s chair, you may find that you get sweaty palms, a racing pulse, or even a panic attack from the anxiety around visiting the dentist. 


These feelings can lead you to get in your head and you may not feel like you can speak up about any pain or concerns. 


If you are unsure how to approach this exchange, these are our top tips for how to have a dentist and patient conversation. 

5 top tips to approach a dentist and patient conversation

We’ve spoken to our team of experts to get their best advice as to how to improve communication between you and your dentist. 

1. If you’re nervous, tell them!

Dentists understand that patients often get nervous about their appointment, and it can impact their behaviours and mannerisms. 


If you find yourself particularly nervous, let your dentist know! 


They can make reasonable adjustments to make you feel more comfortable – especially if you have specific neurological conditions, such as autism, dentists can make the experience more comfortable for you. 


This can include:


  • Additional time
  • Accessible information 
  • Support during the appointment

2. Bring a friend or family member

Sometimes, all you need is a hand to hold. 


When you feel the side effects of nerves creeping up on you, seeing your loved one there can calm you down. 


Plus, if you explain your wants or concerns to your friend or family member before your appointment, if you find you are struggling to let your dentist know, your loved one could help you speak up or inform the dentist for you. 


If you’re unsure if you are allowed to bring your friend or family member to your appointment, ring your practice to see if it is possible. 

Even if they can’t come into the treatment room, they may be able to wait for you in the waiting room. 

3. Take your time 

When you’re a patient in the dentist’s chair, it can suddenly become very overwhelming. 


When nervous, you might find yourself speaking extremely quickly and gasping for breaths. 


More often than not, you have more time than you think. So, you have the time to take a deep breath between sentences. 


By doing this, you may find your nerves subside a bit, allowing you to feel more calm when having a conversation with your dentist. 

4. Get information prior to your appointment

When you’re already feeling anxious, the unknown can heighten these feelings.


Therefore, it could be a good idea to call up your dentist’s practice and question them as to what to expect from your appointment. 


You could ask them:


  • What is the aim of the appointment? 
  • Can you bring a loved one in with you?
  • Is your dentist able to make any reasonable adjustments?


By having this information, hopefully, you will feel more comfortable going into your appointment. 


Plus, if your dentist appointment unfortunately doesn’t go as expected, if you do need to make a negligence claim, you have the information ready.  

5. Signal them to pause if you are already in the chair

Before you get into the dentist’s chair, speak to your dentist about having a signal to pause.


Especially if you feel yourself getting panicky, are in pain, or need to ask a question, having a signal could give you a minute to re-centre and calm any anxieties you may have about the dentist.


Some examples of signals could be:


  • Hand up 
  • Tap on your leg
  • Crossing legs

Still have a poor dentist and patient communication? You may be eligible for dental negligence

Communication between dentist and patient is vital. It ensures everyone is on the same page and could prevent poor dental treatment. 


However, if you did speak up and your dentist didn’t listen, you may be open to a dental negligence lawsuit. 


Thankfully, since our inception in 2000, we’ve helped thousands of people with their negligence claims. Our expert team of dentists and solicitors has the specialist skills required to help you through the whole process. 


Don’t believe us? Check out our range of client testimonials to discover how we’ve helped them receive justice. 


Plus, we work on a solely conditional basis, so you can rest assured that you won’t have to pay if your case isn’t successful. 


With an injury claim time limit of just three years, it’s important to get in touch with us sooner rather than later. 

If you’d like to find out more or are ready to start the process, fill in our contact form and we’ll call you back as soon as possible.