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A trip to the dentist is an anxious experience for both adults and children, but Israeli researchers found that making sensory changes like changing the lighting or adding soothing music cut anxiety levels in children at the dentist’s office. The researchers compared anxiety levels among 35 children who took two routine cleaning visits to the dentists. The kids were between the ages of 6 and 11, 16 of whom had developmental disabilities making them more prone to anxiety because of the sounds, smells and lights of a dentist's office. To measure anxiety in children during the dental routines, the researchers used a behaviour checklist and monitored electrodermal activity, an objective measure of arousal. The first trip was like a regular visit to the dentist, with fluorescent lighting and an overhead dental tamp. In the second trip have researchers however changed the setup so there was no overhead lighting. Instead they added a slow moving, repetitive colour lamp with the dental hygienist wearing a special LED headlamp that shone light into the child's mouth. The children also listened to soothing music and wore a heavy vest designed to feel like a hug. The dental chair itself was modified to vibrate. Under the new setup, all the children had lower anxiety levels. Anxious behaviour didn't last as long, dropping from an average of 3.69 minutes to 1.48 minutes in typical children. Among children with developmental disability, the change was even greater, with the average time for anxious behaviour dropping from 23.44 minutes to 9.04 minutes. The researchers believe that this new approach might replace sedatives and other invasive procedures in the future.


Yes. What a good idea!