Very few people, if any, look forward to visiting the dentist. But for some people, seeing their dentist is more than just an inconvenience — it’s a nightmare. For people with severe dental anxiety, even something as simple as a cleaning could seem like a terrifying experience. In the best case scenario, people with dental anxiety struggle to work up the nerve to make and keep appointments with their dentist, and experience extreme anxiety and stress during their procedures. In the worst case scenario, that fear prevents them from getting the dental care they need at all.
But researchers in the UK have come up with a new way to ease dental anxiety in patients who struggle at the dentist: virtual reality.
Turn Your Dentist Visit Into a Nature Walk
Research has repeatedly shown that exposure to nature can have a calming effect and reduce stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, dental work requires a hygienic environment, so actually getting your dental procedures done while experiencing nature isn’t an option. But even though we can’t bring the dentist’s chair into nature, a team of researchers decided to see if virtual reality could bring nature to the dentist’s chair.
Seventy participants were involved in the study. They were split into three groups: One group experienced a beach environment through virtual reality while receiving dental care, another group experienced an urban environment, and the third group received dental care with no virtual reality. The inclusion of the urban environment, the researchers hoped, would help differentiate between how much of the stress relief was due to the natural element of the environment, and how much was simply due to distraction.
The researchers learned that while the urban environment made little to no difference in the patients’ anxiety levels, the natural environment made a notable difference. Subjects who got to explore a virtual beach during their procedure had a significant decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, and their moods were better than the other two groups.
Could This Help Your Dental Anxiety?
Unfortunately, this is the first study done on such a treatment, and it will need to be reproduced and further studied before it can really be considered a viable treatment for dental anxiety. But if you suffer from dental anxiety, you don’t need a virtual beach to beat the fear and get the dental care you need: Sedation dentistry can always eliminate your stress and help you visit the dentist with no fear.
It isn’t just fear that sedation dentistry can treat. If you have trouble getting numb, a strong gag reflex, or even just want to get a lot of complicated procedures knocked out in a single visit, sedation can solve the problem.
It’s easy: Your dentist will provide a pill for you to take approximately an hour before your appointment. You’ll be conscious, but you’ll feel no stress or anxiety, and you will likely have little memory of the procedure afterwards.
Sedation dentistry is a safe, reliable way to get the dental care you need without the fear and dread. If you’re looking for a sedation dentist in Baulkham Hills, call (02) 9686 7375 or contact us online to make an appointment.