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How the psychology of colour can help combat dental anxiety

How the psychology of colour can help combat dental anxiety

In the first of a two-part series we review the impact of colour in helping ease patients’ nerves and making their dental experience an enjoyable one.


According to the Oral Health Foundation, almost half of UK adults have a fear of the dentist, with around 12% of these suffering extreme dental activity. This represents a significant proportion of the population and means it’s likely there are patients in your area who are in need of dental treatment but too anxious to make an appointment.


There are many things a dental practice can do to make a nervous patient’s experience as stress-free as possible, and one of them is creating an environment that is calming and welcoming. One of the key factors in determining this is the use of colour.


Much has been written about the effect of colour on mood, and it’s now well accepted that each colour has a psychological value and can be classified into one of three categories, related to where they sit on the colour wheel:


  • Active or warm – on one side are warm colours like red, orange and yellow, which can radiate warmth and cosiness as well as activity, passion and aggression. Red, for instance, can be sophisticated, passionate and warm but can also raise the heart rate and blood pressure and initiate the body’s fight-or-flight response.


  • Passive or cool – on the other side are cooler, more passive colours including blue, purple and blue-greens. These colours are expansive and airy and tend to affect the mind, as opposed to active colours which have a more physical, visceral effect. Colours such as blue and green can have a tranquil, stress-releasing effect and work well in a sunny room. However, they can become colder and stark in a room without much natural light.


  • Neutral – traditionally the “non-colours” such as black, white and grey, neutral colours are neither warm nor cool but rather give other colours space. A light shade of grey or a white, cream or caramel will bring balance and space to a room. Black is a total absence of colour which can have a bold effect when used sparingly but shouldn’t be used too much.



With so much to think about and so many colours to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start for a practice that wishes to create the right impression and welcome nervous patients through their doors.


Read part two ‘Top tips for using colour to reduce anxiety in your patients’ to discover ways of applying the psychology of colour to your practice environment.


Find out more about Belmont’s range of colourful and ergonomic chairs here.









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