Could VR cure your dental anxiety?
It’s no secret that most people experience a degree of anxiety when faced with a session in the dental chair. If you’re one of those affected by nervousness, virtual reality (VR) could make the future a whole lot brighter.
Virtual reality has a whole host of uses, and it’s becoming increasingly commonplace in the education, military and healthcare sectors. Some companies, including Umber Reality, which is based in the USA, have introduced VR technology to alleviate work-related stress, and a growing number of doctors and dentists are employing VR to ease anxiety.
Dentist Bryan Laskin is the founder of Operability, which has produced OperaVR, a VR programme, which takes patients away from the treatment room to a different environment, for example, serene woodlands, golden beaches or tranquil meadows. Mr Laskin claims that VR has a similar effect to sedatives, making patients feel completely calm and relaxed. VR creates a much more pleasant and less threatening environment and it can help to reduce anxiety, which encourages patients to feel more confident the next time a dental appointment comes around. It is estimated that more than 100 dental offices in the US are already using VR, and this is a trend that looks to set to dominate in years to come.
In the case of OperaVR, dentists control the audio and video via a website, and patients can choose from a range of visuals. From different locations and videos of animals to an entertainer juggling, there’s a selection of short videos available to distract the patient and make them feel happier, calmer, and more relaxed.