Virtual reality to make the visit to the dentist (almost) pleasant

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Tom Chatfield
@tomchatfield

Summary

  • Virtual reality to reduce stress and pain at the dentist
  • A virtual walk by the sea to forget the dentist

Everyone is apprehensive about going to the dentist. Anxiety, pain, the fact of staying a long time with your mouth open with a light in your eyes with the particularly unpleasant sound of the strawberry making a hole in your tooth make, for many of us, the visit. at the dentist particularly unpleasant and dreaded. The use of virtual reality during dental care could radically change our perception and make the visit to the dreaded dentist almost pleasant.



Virtual reality to reduce stress and pain at the dentist

It's a fact, no one likes going to the dentist. Waiting for long periods of time with open mouth during dental treatment in the stressful environment of light in the eyes and the dreaded noise of the strawberry dramatically increases patient anxiety, discomfort and pain.. Worse yet, dreading the care, being fully aware, and waiting for a long time for care to finish increases stress levels and sensitivity to pain even further. Hence the idea of ​​a team of British researchers from the universities of Plymouth, Exeter and Birmingham to allow the patient to escape, the time of care, thanks to virtual reality.

Various studies and previous experiences have shown the benefits of virtual reality on patients, particularly in the context of anxiety and the sensation of pain. Also, the team of dentists conducted various experiments on groups of patients by offering them a virtual reality escape. Two VR programs were tested and one gave excellent results and particularly positive feedback from patients.



A virtual walk by the sea to forget the dentist

To carry out their study, the practitioners created 3 groups of patients. The first, a control group, was treated normally without a virtual reality headset. The second group wore a VR headset in which they were immersed in an urban environment and the third was offered a bucolic stroll by the sea in virtual reality near the village of Wembury on the south coast of England.

According to the results of the study, patients who experienced immersion in an urban environment did not report any real benefits compared to those who received conventional care. The patients who escaped to the seaside were, on the other hand, very enthusiastic and reported feeling significantly less stress, anxiety and pain sensation..


The results of the study do not specify how the dentist could communicate with his patient in VR immersion or if the virtual reality programs were designed so that the patient does not turn his head. Without doubt the ideal would be for dentists to find the VR film that leaves patients speechless ... The results of the study are in any case encouraging and could allow patients to postpone the date of the visit to the dentist less and to apprehend it less. 




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