There are lots of good reasons to control your dental anxiety when you see the dentist. It makes for a more pleasant experience, can help you get numb more easily, lets you avoid muscle tension and gagging. But new research shows another reason why you should control your dental anxiety: your dentist can actually smell your fear, and it can cause them to make more mistakes!
Detecting the Effects of Terror Sweat
To determine whether dentists were affected by the smell of patients’ anxiety, researchers started by collecting sweat from dental students. Twenty-four fourth-year dental students donated t-shirts that had been sweated in under two conditions: anxiety and rest. Scent from these shirts was extracted. Then third-year dental students as they performed dental procedures while exposed to the scents, along with a masker to conceal the odor. Students performed three different procedures, one while smelling the anxiety sweat plus masker, the rest sweat plus masker, and just the masker. Students were asked to rate the odor of the air each time, which showed that they couldn’t consciously tell they were smelling sweat.
The results showed that students performed significantly worse when smelling anxiety sweat. Researchers say that this shows that the chemosignaling people use can have a significant impact on human performance, and say that we should work harder to evaluate the effect and work to prevent it. What they don’t say is that this means people with dental anxiety may be more likely to experience poor care, as dentists smell their fear and respond without knowing it. It’s also another reminder that it’s the unconscious impact of fear that can be as serious as more conscious effects, like skipping a dental appointment.
NuCalm Can Control the Unconscious Effects of Anxiety
This is also another situation where NuCalm can help people get better care. In addition to conscious responses to an anxious patient, doctors and dentists are unknowingly responding to patients’ anxieties in many ways. This study shows that errors in judgement are part of the result, but we also know that it makes it hard for people to maintain a good relationship when one of them is highly anxious.
NuCalm allows for more normal function of the sympathetic nervous system. This can lead not only to less stress sweating, but less sweating altogether. This helps patients relax in the dentist’s chair, but also helps dentists relax.
And it can also reduce the potential for anxiety to spread through a dental office. Since only a small amount of chemosignals may be necessary for people to catch the scent of fear, patients in a waiting room can be impacted by anxious patients being treated, even though they may not know it.
If you are looking for a dental office that is prepared to control your anxiety effectively without drugs, please contact a local NuCalm provider today.