Tips to make Dentist waiting rooms more welcoming

Picture of Joey Bate

Waiting rooms can be an anxious place for many people and as it’s the first thing your clients see when they enter your practice it’s important to make it as welcoming and calming as possible. Here are some tips on how to achieve this.

1. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes

A good place to start is to view your waiting area as if you have never been there before and take it in based on your first impressions. What is the first thing people see when they walk in? 

If it’s a blank wall, consider making it more homely by hanging a picture or some art – a more personal and less clinical space can ease those client jitters. What do people hear when they walk in? A very simple way to make any space more welcoming is to play music. Whether it’s a playlist that is designed to be soothing and relaxing or simply putting on a popular radio station that patients are likely to be familiar with, having music playing is a great distraction and can be a highly effective stress buster.


2. Cater to the kids

Having a dedicated area with something to entertain kids whilst in the waiting room can be a godsend to parents who are taking their little ones in for a check up, or if they are the ones visiting for an appointment. It can take the pressure off when either the child or their parent is anxious by providing a distraction and showing that you’ve thought of patients of all ages. ​

child building an four boxes

3. Aquarium therapy

It may sound surprising, but adding a fish tank to your waiting area can work wonders for the wellbeing of patients. Studies have shown that watching fish swim in an aquarium has a hugely beneficial and soothing effect. Just a few minutes in front of a tank lowers blood pressure, stress levels, anxiety and muscle tension, whilst increasing feelings of relaxation and calm. It’s also a novel way to keep smaller patients entertained as they are mesmerised by the colourful swimmers. Tanks don’t have to be particularly large or high maintenance – goldfish and some greenery can be just as effective as a full-blown coral reef.

school of clown fish

4. Provide reading materials

Giving your patients magazines to browse during their time in the waiting room can prove a welcome distraction and boredom buster. Ensure that they are kept reasonably up to date and in good condition, and place them throughout your waiting area so they are within easy reach for everyone using the room. Don’t forget to also have printed information about services you offer or common concerns your patients might have. This can help alleviate some anxiety and even help with upselling. Perhaps a client visiting for a regular check up will end up enquiring about teeth whitening after browsing a waiting room leaflet.

person picking white and red book on bookshelf

5. Maximise Comfort

Row upon row of hard plastic chairs is not the most welcoming prospect in a waiting room, so consider how comfortable your seating is and if you find it lacking, replace it. The more physically comfortable your patients are, the more psychologically calm they are likely to be, reducing their stress levels. They are also less likely to be bothered by extended waiting times if they’re in a comfy position. ​

two yellow padded chairs



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