Going to the dentist can often be a scary experience for the uneasy and anxious, but a new relaxation technique used by one dental practice in Devon, England is consistently resulting in a better time for dental patients.
As the virtual reality fad continues to envelop the nation, medical practitioners are finding ways to exploit its full potential. A team of researchers in Devon led a study to determine whether such measures could improve a patient’s experience during routine dental procedures.
Patients who consented to the experiment were randomly assigned to one of three virtual reality settings: 1) standard care (the control), 2) a virtual walk on a beach equipped with a headset and handheld controller, or 3) a walk around a virtual city. The researchers concluded that patients who walked around the beach during their time at the dentist reported less anxiety, pain, and had more positive memories of their treatment after some time as compared to those in the standard care condition or those who walked around in the city.
“The use of virtual reality in health care settings is on the rise,” says Dr. Karin Tanja-Dijkstra, lead author of the study. “Under the right conditions, this technology can be used to help both patients and practitioners.”