There are few settings that are more widely anxiety provoking than going to the dentist. As many as 20% of adults put off routine dental care until they have a problem that causes a great deal of pain. As a result, small problems become large and painful problems, which require invasive (and often uncomfortable) procedures to correct. Many of these patients require sedation in order to relax enough for the procedures.
At Brighton Dental, our goal is help our patients overcome their anxiety, so we can help them improve their oral health. To accomplish this, we are always on the lookout for new ways lower anxiety levels for our patients.
In response to recent research on the effects of aromatherapy on anxiety, Brighton Dental is now offering aromatherapy to patients during their appointments. Aromatherapy has been used in both alternative and complementary medicine since ancient times. Citrus has traditionally been used to relieve anxiety.
One study in particular examined the effects of orange essential oil on thirty children between the ages of six and nine undergoing two separate treatments that included prophylaxis and sealant. These specific treatments were chosen because they are generally pain-free and would prevent physical discomfort from skewing the results.
Each child had one such treatment using the aromatherapy, and another without, with half the children receiving the aromatherapy during the first visit, the other half during the second visit.
The children’s anxiety levels were determined by measuring their pulse rates and the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in their saliva. Regardless of whether the orange oil was used during the first or second visit, the children demonstrated lower levels of anxiety when they received the aromatherapy than when they didn’t.
These findings are significant because, not only does pain increase anxiety, but patients who are anxious are more sensitive to pain. This results in a vicious cycle that leads to patients avoiding needed dental care, which can result in poor dental health and increased cavities and gum disease.
At Brighton dental, we recognize that your comfort is the key to your oral health. That’s why Dr. Vinograd has worked so hard to perfect his Gentle Dental techniques, and why we’re always looking for new ways to provide all of our patients, especially those who have dental anxiety, with the most comfortable possible treatments.
If you’ve been putting off needed dental care because of anxiety, call Brighton Dental today at (619) 640-5100. You’ll be glad you did.