New implementations of VR and music in altering patients’ perception of dental treatment can be an advantage for any modern dental or orthodontic clinic. The potential to use this trending technology to immerse patients in sensations other than the anxiety, pain, or doubt surrounding their treatment has been shown to improve patient satisfaction and even reduce pain perception.
The benefits of smartly employing this technology go beyond patient satisfaction for a modern clinic and include better profit margins, attractive marketing concepts, and needing fewer pain relief procedures in-office.
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What is VR and How is it Applied?
VR or virtual reality is any technology that can visually and audibly simulate a virtual world, including video games. Today, head-mounted displays can be used to immerse people in three-dimensional worlds, separate from the situation they are actually in.
The applications for patients range from simple distractions during routine procedures to meaningful reductions in anxiety and pain scores for susceptible patients during various dental treatments. The sounds and images provide relaxation through distraction as the office personnel works through the procedure with a more resilient and comfortable patient.
Though more studies are needed on the full applications of VR in a dental setting, the initial studies confirm its potential use as an anxiety- and pain-reducing feature of a modern clinic.
How Can Music Be Used in a Dental Office?
Likewise, many studies have shown that music is an effective intervention for anxiety in many medical settings. Even cancer patients and intensive care patients can benefit from listening to music while waiting for an exam or procedure.
These applications carry over to the dental office, where anxiety and fear often reduce the effectiveness of procedures or cause patients to delay them out of hesitance. Of course, music is a passive distraction and, as such, may not be as effective at reducing anxiety in highly prone individuals as medication, but its use as an optional intervention is a low-cost way for dental clinics to improve the patient experience in certain individuals.
Options for applying music in a dental setting include guided deep-breathing audio tracks, music-assisted meditation courses, and music-guided images, combining headphones and TV screens to provide a cheaper alternative to the VR experience with some of the same benefits.
Since dental anxiety is highest in children, anything that can take the edge off could make the lives of dental practitioners as well as patients (and their parents) much easier.
What are the Benefits of VR and Music in a Dental Setting?
In addition to reducing anxiety and pain levels in receptive patients, VR and music have other benefits to the modern dental or orthodontic clinic. For example, with lower pain and anxiety scores, patients will not need as much pain relief via other means.
Studies show that when patients are receptive to VR-guided relaxation, they need less nitrous oxide to achieve lower pain scores. With 3 in 4 patients experiencing some form of dental fear, these statistics mean significant savings for the clinic and increased patient satisfaction.
This will not only improve a clinic’s ratings, but it could also prevent patients from delaying or canceling the treatments they need out of anxiety.
How VR and Music Reduce Pain
Music-assisted and visual-assisted relaxation are tried-and-true relaxation methods in the psychology field, but their applications are similar in the dental field.
Music has been shown to increase oxygen saturation in a person’s body, preventing oxygen-related tissue death during complex procedures. Distractions can also slow a patient’s breathing, which relaxes muscles and reduces overall pain and anxiety scores. This is what makes it such an invaluable therapy for intensive care units.
On a more conscious level, distractions can help prevent patients from focusing on their pain and stress, which can make them more receptive to treatments and more comfortable during procedures. More research is needed to evaluate all the ways that VR and music therapy can integrate with current paradigms of stress and pain control in modern dental offices, but the groundwork is there.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.