The whir of a dental drill can reduce some people to balls of fear. Underneath the shaking and racing heartbeats, people with dental anxiety cannot help but be baffled as to why they respond so. Science has an explanation.
Japan’s Study on Dental Anxiety
Researchers in Japan may have the answer that explain the illogical fear one experiences upon hearing suctions and dental drills.
Hiroyuki Karibe of the Nippon Dental University in Tokyo believes that understanding the brain’s response helps scientists assess how to help patients feel more relaxed. Together with a team of psychiatrists, Karibe asked 13 men and 21 women aged 19 to 49 to participate in a survey, which measured their dental fears.
Based on the participants’ scores, Karibe divided them into low- and high-fear groups. Participants underwent scanning through a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI) while Karibe played a series of sounds. Volunteers heard suction tools and the screeching sound of drills.
Brain activity exposes rate of dental fear
According to the study, participants from the low-fear group suffered little to none of dental anxiety. Upon hearing the dental sounds, their right and left superior temporal gyri reflected more activity. Karibe explains that the sounds encouraged brain activity within the primary auditory areas.
Anxious participants offered different results. Rather than reflect activity in the auditory areas, Karibe reported more intense responses from a region known as left caudate nucleus. This part of the brain deals with learning and remembering sounds.
Intense fear may lead to worse teeth
People who dread the drill believe that a visit to the dentist drastically affects their life quality. Some patients drop by and vow to never return, while others have never set foot in a practice at all.
You might think that people fearful of the dentist would take better care of their teeth; unfortunately, the phobia does not follow the logic. Extreme fears of dental procedures affect how an individual cares for their set of pearly whites.
Fortunately, dental practices offer numerous options to subdue a patient’s anxiety. With painless dentistry options such as sedation, anxious patients need not worry anymore and can better care for their teeth.
Get rid of anxiety and care for your teeth better. Overcome your fear of the drill with Blue Sky Dentistry’s painless dentistry. Get in touch with us now for more details on how we can help you.