The Dental Hygiene Research center at Old Dominion University in Virginia is conducting a study to see if virtual reality can help ease a patient’s dental fears while being seated in the dental chair. The study is looking to see if visual immersion therapy will help with dental anxiety. In this study, people will wear high tech glasses (similar to those worn in virtual reality simulators) and will be able to watch a movie or something relaxing to try to take their mind off of the treatment they are receiving. Dental hygiene profession Gayle McCombs from the university states that “Many people don’t like to go to the dentist…you hear at least once a day ‘I hate going to the dentist’”.
At the moment, most dental offices use conscious sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help patients relax when they come in for dental treatment. The students at ODU are looking into a way to move away from medication.
Carmelo Padrino will be conducting a clinical trial this semester, he will then write a thesis to be submitted to a professional journal.