Millions of Americans suffer from dental anxiety for a number of reasons. Whether it’s the anxiety caused by potential pain that triggers an attack or the fear of a devastating diagnosis, dental phobia is very real and keeps many from visiting their dentist consistently. In an effort to better understand dental fear, a team of Japanese researchers conducted a study on the effects of the sounds of dental instruments on the level of anxiety felt by patients. The findings were recently discussed in a Dr. Bicuspid article and proved to be very interesting.
The study involved 21 women and 13 men, all aged between 19 and 49. They were separated into two groups based on their fear levels, high and low, and then underwent brain imaging while listening to a series of sounds, including dental drills and suction tools. Both groups of individuals experienced increased brain activity when hearing common dental instruments over more neutral sounds, but it’s where the activity was located that scientists found interesting. The low-fear group experienced activity in the left and right superior temporal gyri, the primary auditory areas of the brain. The high-fear group experienced a surge of activity in the brain’s left caudate nucleus, which may play a role in learning and recalling the sounds of the dental instruments. Scientists believe the study can be used to assess the effectiveness of interventions such as cognitive behavior therapy for those who suffer from extreme cases of dental phobia.
Regardless of whether you believe you experience anxiety about visiting the dentist, most patients dislike the sounds of the dental drill. They naturally tense up when it’s heard, creating an uncomfortable state of rest, which is exactly what we try to avoid at Miami Dental Sedation Spa. We specifically concern ourselves with creating a serene like environment so that you can relax during your visit. In addition to the use of sophisticated aesthetics, many of our patients choose to use headphones during their treatment, allowing them to enjoy their favorite sounds while feeling relaxed and comfortable in our office. Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be a painful, anxiety-inducing experience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and come see for yourself what sedation dentistry is all about.