How to Make Patients Comfortable During Periodontal Treatments?

In Conversation with Dr. Ana Cortes


  • Addressing patient anxieties and fears

  • Do’s and don’ts during the first appointment

  • Essential aspects of periodontal treatments

  • Motivating patients to maintain optimal oral hygiene


Dr. Ana Cortes

General Dentist at Clínica Dental Pilar Sierra

                                             Clínica Dental Pilar Sierra, C. Santander, 10, 50010 Zaragoza, Spain

In Conversation with Dr. Ana Cortes


Patients can often be extremely anxious during dental treatments — all dentists are aware of this fact. As such, a huge component of dentistry involves getting patients to trust you and feel comfortable. When it comes to periodontal care, dentists must also inculcate positive dental hygiene habits to prevent periodontal problems in the future. After all, the success of periodontal therapy hinges on the patient’s willingness to maintain optimal oral hygiene.

Our team at Zircon Medical recently hosted Dr. Ana Cortes on our podcast series to discuss how to make patients comfortable during periodontal treatment.

Introducing Dr. Ana Cortes, the general dentist at Clínica Dental Pilar Sierra

Dr. Ana Cortes is currently the general dentist at the Clínica Dental Pilar Sierra, and she works part-time at the Clínica Dental Dr. Abel Garcia in Zaragoza, Spain. While most dentists say they’ve always been drawn to dentistry, Dr. Cortes originally started her career as a solo concert pianist, which she had been pursuing since the age of 9. However, unable to practice dentistry while also maintaining a career as a pianist, she eventually chose to dedicate herself to dentistry at the age of 25.

Addressing patient anxieties and fears

Dr. Cortes says most patients have the same fears. They enter the office nervously, and Dr. Cortes has to break the ice by introducing herself positively. She says she asks them about their day and work before examining their teeth or discussing their primary concerns. “I think it’s important to understand all aspects of the patient’s life,” she says, “to connect with them personally and alleviate their anxieties.”

Do’s and don’ts during the first appointment

During the patient’s first appointment, Dr. Cortes believes the doctor must focus on understanding the patient’s concerns — not the treatment. She says she focuses entirely on getting to know the patient and connecting with them on a personal level. “It’s important not to make them too anxious or overload them with information. I don’t make the treatment unless it’s an emergency.”

Furthermore, Dr. Cortes warns against the common mistake of rushing through the appointment, which can happen if too many appointments are scheduled closely. She believes it’s important to schedule long periods for the appointments, so you can get through the x-rays, show pictures, and explain everything comfortably. The first appointment shouldn’t just be 10 to 15 minutes because then the patient will feel rushed.

Essential aspects of periodontal treatments

Dr. Cortes says making an accurate diagnosis is essential for periodontal care. The diagnosis should be made after taking plenty of x-rays and photographs. However, she believes patient motivation and follow-up are the key factors of success to reach the stability of periodontal tissues. Without proper follow-up and motivation, the results of the periodontal therapy will be undone.

Dr. Cortes says she schedules follow-up treatments once every 4 to 6 months for high-risk patients and once every 6 to 8 months for patients committed to prevention. This allows her to track the patient’s progress and ensure they’re following all of her preventative advice. In some cases, if patients don’t seem to understand the importance of maintenance, she asks them to return every two months.

Motivating patients to maintain optimal oral hygiene

Doctors have limited influence on how patients manage their oral health at home. Furthermore, patients can grow lax with their oral hygiene after several weeks or months. To ensure patients remain committed to oral hygiene, Dr. Cortes shows them pictures of patients at different stages of periodontitis. She shows her patients what happens to patients who aren’t motivated after periodontal treatments versus those who are highly motivated. The visual comparison shocks patients and makes them appreciate the need for oral hygiene.

Dr. Cortes says her goal for the near future is to open her own dental clinic in Zaragoza, Spain. You can find her online on Instagram (@dra.anascortes) or her professional LinkedIn profile. You can also listen to her on our Zircon Medical podcast.

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