Healthcast: Dental anxiety relief


Do you hate going to the dentist? Well, you’re not alone.

“I hate the dentist is a very common statement. And that’s kind of my personal mission is to squash that,” Dr. Brian Laskin founder of Opera VR said.

Dr. Laskin founded Opera VR after seeing the therapeutic effects of virtual reality in his own dental practice.

“Imagery and the auditory stimuli virtually transports your awareness somewhere else,” Dr. Laskin said.

Dr. Laskin said it’s a drug-free way to help reduce dental anxiety.

“You put on a headset that sits north of your teeth, so it doesn’t get in the way of the dentist working.”

While the headsets on you can see videos of things like beaches and butterflies.

“The dental team has a web control where they can choose different adventures or categories of videos, so you can go to places around the world, there’s entertainment and then there’s relaxing,” Dr. Laskin said.

This VR software is specifically designed for dental practices, so patients aren’t moving their head around.

“If you move your head the scene moves with you, and there is a central point of focus, so the patient’s best experience is looking forward and relaxing,” Dr. Laskin said.

Dr. Laskin calls it digital nitrous.

“Because it’s as effective as nitrous oxide, in most cases, and it transports you somewhere else just like nitrous oxide. And also like nitrous oxide, it’s not for everybody. If you want to be totally conscious of what’s going on, it’s probably not going to work for you.”

But every patient should find a dental practice they feel comfortable at.

“If you’re seeing a dentist that doesn’t focus on patients with anxiety, seek one out, Dr. Laskin said.

Other tips from the American Dental Association include talking to your dentist about your fears.

Experts suggest trying deep breaking exercises and finding a way to distract yourself with things such as wearing headphones and listening to music.

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