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For Mild Dental Anxiety, Try Listening to Music at the Dentist

March 9, 2018
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann

Let’s be real – the dentist can be a stressful place. Just the thought of the dentist getting out the drill can send some people into a bleak terror. If you’re looking for ways to calm down during your next appointment, have you considered listening to music at the dentist? It’s a great tool to keep your stress and fear under control if you use it correctly.

Why is Music Good for the Dentist?

Numerous studies have proven that music is a proven tool against stress. In fact, a 2013 study found that music was better than prescription drugs for calming patients down before surgery. This is because music helps to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Another study looked at children ages 3 to 11 who were sent to the emergency room. When these patients were listening to music, they reported less pain when getting an IV inserted as well as had less distress overall.

One more study inflicted 143 people with a painful shock to their fingers. The group that was listening to music and told to concentrate on the beat reported less pain than their non-music companions.

What Type of Music Is Best for the Dentist?

You’ll want to choose music that helps you relax. For most people, this might be something soothing, like meditation or instrumental music. Some people even appreciate the sound of water or the crashing of waves as a tool to help them imagine they’re off in the forest or lying on a beach.

However, for some people, this type of music won’t be catchy enough to distract them. The important thing is to find a song or genre that will hold your interest for the duration of the appointment. Whether you’re a fan of rock, metal, pop, country music, put together a list of your favorite songs to keep you engaged. Better yet, listen to a new album from your favorite artist, as your brain will be too busy analyzing the new beats and sounds to register what the dentist is doing inside your mouth.

If you’d like to rely on the scientific data, studies have shown that classical music is the best at helping dental patients relax before a procedure. So for the best stress relief, stick to Mozart and Beethoven.

How to Listen to Music

There’s no shame in wearing headphones to your dental appointment. Just inform us that you’d like to listen to music to keep yourself distracted so we don’t think you’re ignoring us. Store the music on your phone or iPod so you can quickly switch songs if you’re not feeling it. To block out as many buzzing or drilling sounds as possible, bring a pair of noise-canceling headphones to silence the extraneous noise.

If you’re worried about catching sounds in between songs, use a feature like a crossfade on Spotify or gapless playback with your iPhone.

We also have surround-sound speakers hooked up to Pandora. If you don’t have your own device we’ll ask you what kind of music you’d like to listen to before we start the procedure. You may have to listen to us sing along, but hopefully, it won’t be too bad.

Ready to set up your appointment? Contact us today to learn more about our dental services and how we can make your experience as stress-free as possible.

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