Top tips for using colour to reduce anxiety in your patients
In the second of a two-part series we review the impact of colour in helping ease patients’ nerves and making their dental experience an enjoyable one.
In ‘How the psychology of colour can help combat dental anxiety’ we discovered how different colours can inspire different feelings. Active and warm colours like red and orange can radiate warmth and cosiness but also inspire passion or even anger. Cool, passive colours can inspire tranquillity and relieve stress but can also be cold. Below are some top tips on using colour to create a relaxed and welcoming environment for even the most anxious of patients:
1. Consider the saturation as different shades can have totally different effects – a light blue can be considered peaceful, associated with calm sea and expanses of blue sky, but make it a few shades darker and it will lose that peaceful aspect. Similarly, a bright, warm red may welcome your patients into a nurturing, friendly environment whereas widespread use of a darker blood-red might not have the same effect.
2. Combine complimentary colours to create a harmonious environment. If you have a strong colour already present in your treatment room – perhaps a vibrant Belmont chair – look for complimentary colours that sit opposite that colour on the wheel to balance the room. Use plenty of neutral colours too, such as white or light grey, or use natural materials like wood and different textures to create a more calming, natural feel.
3. Use photography or art in a complimentary, restful palette in places where patients spend much of their time, which will attract the eye and encourage calming thoughts. The green of nature is the most restful colour for the eye and is said to lessen depression and anxiety, so bring nature into the surgery with plants as well.
4. Don’t forget your ceiling as its impact on the feel of a room is often underestimated and patients spend much of their time looking upwards as they recline on your dental chair. Choose a warm, calming colour or design that will help them to stay relaxed during treatment.
5. Factor in the size of your rooms. Active, warm colours make a room look smaller while passive, cool colours do the opposite. If your rooms are big and a bit intimidating, considered use of warmer colours will make it more welcoming.
6. Use colours for way-finding and creating a welcoming reception area. Patients appreciate clear visual signs for where to go to sign in for their appointment or find their treatment room.
7. Think about your patient demographic as some colours have religious or symbolic associations which might trigger negative associations.
There isn’t a wrong colour when it comes to setting the right tone in your practice, as all colours can work if they are mixed and balanced with complimentary colours to create the mood you require. As most practices are already starting with some colour, from their logo or from existing furniture, start with the colours you have and then experiment with their complimentary colours to create a calm and welcoming environment for all your patients.
Read part one ‘How the psychology of colour can help combat dental anxiety’ to discover the effects of colour in your practice environment.
Find out more about Belmont’s range of colourful and ergonomic chairs here.