Anxiety about going to the dentist is extremely common. Some estimates say as many as 75% of Americans suffer from some form of anxiety. If you, or someone you know, falls into this category, music could be the answer to calming these nerves.
Before you tell yourself that you haven’t been to the dentist since you were a child and you’re doing fine, consider this: Avoiding the dentist places you at a high risk for gum disease and early tooth decay. Having these problems can affect more than just your mouth. Discolored or damaged teeth have been shown to impact people’s self-esteem both personally and professionally. Also, since our mouths have direct contact with our blood stream and respiratory system, poor oral care has been linked to heart disease and lung infections resulting in overall shorter life expectancy for individuals who avoid dental care.
Due to the severe consequences of poor oral hygiene, it is imperative that we are able to find a solution to dental anxiety. In recent years, music has been used as an anxiety and stress reducer. Using a combination of soothing electronic instrumental sounds and hypnotic suggestion have been found to be incredibly successful in reducing patient anxiety and pain. Music is a non-invasive technique that works by relaxing and distracting our brain’s neuroendocrine and sympathetic nervous systems. These are the systems in our brains responsible for producing anxiety, fear, stress, and adrenaline. Music relaxes and distracts these systems allowing patients to go through procedures without their previously experienced pains and traumas.
Dental anxiety can be brought on by many things. The number one reason people give for putting off their dental visits is a fear of pain. Fear of pain is as much a cognitive and emotional experience as it is a psychological one. Anticipating pain prior to a dental procedure can actually trick our brains into feeling pain during the procedure. This is why music has been so successful in revolutionizing the treatment of patients with dental anxiety. By intercepting those brain waves in the neuroendocrine and sympathetic nervous systems, music effectively reduces patients’ levels of anxiety and pain during their visits.
So next time you want to ditch the dentist, remember how much you love to smile and give music a try. It’s already working for many.
Call our Long Beach Dentist office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual check-up!