The Importance of Empathy in the Dental World What to Know

Empathy is a vital quality that any individual can have, as this refers to their ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes. In essence, it is the ability to feel or perceive things from the other person’s points of view. In fact, it is a quality of interpersonal effectiveness that will help you at home, in the workplace, and even in your relationships with other people.

But did you know that empathy is all the more important in the dental world? Some people, especially younger children, are quite hesitant to get some dental work out of fear of pain and sharp objects. As a result, they take their oral health for granted. But with the right empathy, it will make a big difference in how you take care of the patients in your dental practice!

In this article, we’ll share why it’s important to have empathy in dentistry and how to foster such quality in your dental practice.

Why it’s important to have empathy in dentistry

Empathy is an essential attribute in the world of dentistry for a handful of reasons, such as the following:

  • Addressing dental fear: Did you know that dental anxiety is increasing in the UK? In fact, 71 per cent of patients from the North East admitted to feeling anxious about revisiting their dentists after a bad experience, while 28 per cent of patients have cancelled an appointment due to their anxiety. This is why you must portray empathy by showing compassion, trust, and love to remedy your patient’s dental fear and phobia.
  • Fostering good oral health: Taking care of your oral health is just as important as taking good care of your health and overall well-being. Not only will a complete set of healthy, strong teeth give you a great smile, but it will also improve your oral function and boost your confidence. But how can patients promote their oral health if they’re afraid to see their dentists? Through empathy, you’ll encourage patients to get dental checkup and treatments for their own benefit.
  • Upholding dental support in the community: As a dental practice, you have a social responsibility to address your locality’s dental needs. On top of this is to provide dental support to individuals in your community, whether they are young or old. Through empathy, you’ll remedy their fear and apprehension in visiting your dental practice and take good care of their oral health.

How to foster empathy in your dental practice

If you’re wondering how to show genuine empathy in your dental practice, here are a few effective tips that you can follow:

  • Have active listening skills: You shouldn’t just hear what they have to say in order to reply. You must listen to understand their situation and their dental needs. By doing so, you will know how to address their problems and provide them with the most appropriate approach and dental solutions.
  • Resort to empathetic thinking: This simply involves an understanding of what the other person means. For instance, your patient may have dental fear out of a previous dental visit with a horrible experience. This time, you can explain how a certain dental procedure will be performed and assure them that everything will be done safely, smoothly and without any pain.
  • Exhibit empathetic feeling: Some patients are just afraid to get some dental services as they allow their emotions to overwhelm them. By understanding where they’re coming from, you’ll be able to calm them down so that they can get the required dental treatments.
  • Have effective communication: For a successful dental service, communication is always the key. Through the right level of empathy, you’ll be able to understand where your patients are coming from and communicate with them effectively. You’ll be surprised at how you can convince them to get the actual dental work.


At this point, you now know that empathy can go a long way in helping your dental practice. It will help to address dental fear, foster good oral health, and uphold dental support in the community. To foster empathy in your dental practice, you must remember to have active listening skills, resort to empathetic thinking, exhibit empathetic feeling, and maintain effective communication. With all these in place, you can effectively cater to your community’s dental needs and attract more clients to your dental practice!

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