As your dental practice grows you may need to expand or revitalize your waiting room. It’s imperative to provide a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for your patients. People are busy – they don’t like waiting – and many are uneasy about visiting the dentist!
Below are a few items you may want to consider to make their wait as comfortable as possible.
According to a study by MusicWorks.com, the majority of patients feel more relaxed and happier when music is playing in a waiting room. Music can also mask the sound of drilling. Adult contemporary or light “pop” stations typically work best. However, always be mindful of your target population. If your office is in more of a rural area you may want to play country music. You may also want to use a satellite station to add more variety and cut down on commercials.
Patients seem to prefer a waiting room that is decorated more like a well-decorated home rather than a sterile or industrial environment. Choosing comfortable furniture with contemporary style can make a huge impact. Provide a variety of furniture styles to be considerate of all body shapes and sizes. Also be mindful to have chairs that are easy to sit in and to rise from for your patients with limited mobility.
Most color theorists suggest shades of blue and neutrals are the best choices for a relaxing atmosphere. It’s fine to add small items in an accent color like orange, red, or yellow to add warmth.
The key is to be “homey,” but not busy or cluttered. Display a few relaxing pieces of art like paintings or framed prints. Add live plants, but take care of them regularly. Remove dead leaves and keep them dusted, watered and otherwise maintained. If you have a display case of curios, such as antique dentist tools or manuals, rotate the display seasonally.
If you choose to offer newspapers and magazines, update them frequently. Out dated and tattered periodicals can be off putting to patients. Offer neatly kept scrapbooks with patient testimonials or before and after photos. If you and your staff volunteer in the community, a scrapbook could also be a great platform to show pictures from golf outings, fundraisers, local sporting events, etc.
Have dental-themed coloring books or worksheets for children. There are numerous websites that allow you to design your own puzzles! You may even find adults doing crosswords or word find games to pass the time. If you provide toys, make sure they’re disinfected and inspected regularly. Keep any choking hazards out of reach from smaller children.
Use a light air freshener, potpourri or a candle that may mask the smell of disinfectant. Vanilla or Mint work well and are less offensive than other scents.
If at all possible, have attractive landscaping that patients can see from the window. Make sure the flowers, bushes and trees are well maintained to show that you pay attention to details. Window coverings such as blinds and curtains will soften the look and should be cleaned often since they tend to collect dust.
Use softer lighting rather than fluorescent. Track lighting or interesting lighting fixtures will add visual interest.
Display framed flyers or posters and other collateral that educates patients about the services you offer, such as implant restoration, whitening services or other health information. You may want to have a display board that’s updated weekly with interesting information on a wide variety of dental health topics.
Show you care about their comfort with a complimentary drink station, a coat rack, tissues, hand sanitizer and WIFI.