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Ask most people how they feel about visiting the dentist and you’ll probably hear a mixture of emotions that range from not thrilled to absolutely terrified. Whether from a bad experience as a child, a fear of needles, or a self-conscious view of the state of their teeth, millions of Americans suffer from dental anxiety. In fact, according to a study from the American Dental Association, 40 percent of Americans suffer from some degree of dental anxiety, with between nine and 15 percent completely avoiding visiting the dentist due to their condition. That’s why at Cain Denture Centers, your Hillsboro denture provider, we always strive to provide our patients with a comfortable and relaxing environment.

Considering the importance of regular dental care visits to maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, it becomes vital to find a dentist that you can feel confident and comfortable visiting. Now a new study from researchers at Case Western Reserve University might have found the key to finding the best dentist.

According to researchers, dentists who exhibit a high level of emotional IQ (EI) have a better time connecting with patients versus dentists who exhibit a high level of general intelligence (IQ). Unlike IQ, a person’s EI measures how well a person can read other’s mood, remain calm under pressure, stay optimistic, and adapt to change. For the majority of patients, a dentist who registers has having a high EI comes across as more approachable and friendly when compared to dentist with a higher IQ than EI.

The results of this study were published in the Journal of Dental Education.

A Friendly Demeanor

For any medical professional, building comfortable relationships with patients ranks as an important part of running any successful practice, especially for a dentist. However, teaching students in dental school how to relate to patients is one of the most challenging aspects for instructors.

While demonstrating a high level of intellect remains part of the admission process to competitive dental school programs, educators have long wondered why some of the brightest students in the classroom struggled when placed in a clinical setting. To determine what role a student’s EI plays in helping him or her relate to patients, researchers recruited junior and senior level students to participate in a study to assess clinical performance.

The students who participated in the study were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire that accurately judged their EI based on four factors: relationship management, social-awareness, self-management, and self-awareness. A student’s clinical performance was determined by a combination of these four factors, technical knowledge, and how patients reacted to the student.

Researchers found that students who exhibited a high EI also had the highest clinical performances. Researchers also discovered that students who exhibited excellent self-management skills received the highest grades from patients. Researchers concluded that teaching student EI competencies could better prepare them to succeed with patients, and that EI assessments become standard practice for dental school admission.