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Reducing Patient Anxiety in Clinical Settings

This is an awesome product that I have used for many, many years and have also recommended it to hundreds of other dentists. I have never received anything other than very positive feedback. Yes, it’s just a small thing. But as I’ve said many times while lecturing and in writing these blogs and articles: It’s never one big thing that pushes your practice over the top. It’s dozens, if not hundreds, of small things that all add up to create an extraordinary practice. Try it. I’m sure you’ll like it.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
972-523-4660 cell
[email protected]


Research shows that severe dental anxiety affects more than 10% of all individuals to the extent that they avoid receiving dental care at all costs [1]. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that dental fear in some form affects as many as of 75% of Americans.

This is more than just an issue affecting oral health; it is also matter of lost practice revenue. Dental anxiety can lead to missed appointments, cancellations and difficulties with patient recall, directly impacting practice owners’ bottom lines.

A simple, effective solution that is proven to help ease the fears of those experiencing dental anxiety is the use of in-office aromatherapy. Consider these studies demonstrating aromatherapy’s positive effects:

• A study at the University Clinic of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, found that ambient odors of both orange and lavender improved mood and reduced anxiety of patients in dental waiting rooms.
• Lavender was also studied at King’s College London, where a randomized control trial showed that anticipatory anxiety was lowered in dental patients exposed to lavender while awaiting dental treatment.
• Researchers at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine tested stress markers in the saliva of healthy students during a mathematical exam. Individuals exposed to lavender had significantly lower levels of CgA (chromogranin A, a stress marker) than those in the control group.

While it may seem as if integrating clinical aromatherapy into a practice setting would be tedious and time-consuming, it is actually quite simple. With the introduction of the ScentCube system, Aeroscena now offers a convenient, cost-effective and research-backed way to deliver the anxiety-reducing benefits of clinical aromatherapy in both waiting rooms and operatories. Featuring ScentGel dry-gel technology, the ScentCube yields a clean, hygienic, cold diffusion that produces no oil, smoke or ozone.

With more than one in four individuals avoiding regular preventative dental care due to dental fear and anxiety, there is clearly a large segment of the population that is not being attended to adequately. This means an opportunity for dental practice growth is likely being overlooked at the same time.

Aeroscena’s clinical aromatherapy system provides a potential pathway to boost patient recall and retention and increase practice revenue. Providing a relaxing, spa-like experience for all patients to enjoy can even drive new recruitment; the word-of-mouth evangelism of satisfied customers is often the most effective form of marketing.

There are additional measures that may be taken to help create a calm, caring environment for anxious patients:
• Allow extra time for appointments
• Explain the procedure thoroughly and calmly before beginning any dental work
• Stop the procedure any time the patient feels uncomfortable
• Frequently ask the patient for permission to continue
• Make time to stop for breaks as requested by the patient
• Offer a range of comfort measures
• Maintain a patient, supportive and unhurried demeanor
• Harness the power of distraction via television programming or the use of MP3 players

Taking just a few extra steps when treating those patients who suffer from dental fear and anxiety can mean the difference between a single, stressful appointment and a satisfied patient for life.

Mark Kohoot
Founder and CEO, Aeroscena LLC

^ 1. Gatchel RJ, Ingersoll BD, Bowman L, Robertson MC, Walker C (October 1983). “The prevalence of dental fear and avoidance: a recent survey study”. J Am Dent Assoc 107 (4): 609–10. PMID 6579095.