Virtual Reality: The New Nitrous?

Move over nitrous, virtual reality is about to take over. It's not necessarily surprising that kids are more distracted when they have a TV in their face. But new research shows the capabilities of virtual reality distraction for dental procedure behavior management.

Virtual Reality: The New Nitrous?

Breaking news: patients get nervous in the dental chair. And often, TV's on the ceiling just don't cut it.

Enter a new patient behavior management strategy that just. might. work....

We're going virtual, baby.

Not surprising, kids are distracted when you put a TV in front of them. But, we will do you one better. Things go even more smoothly when they are immersed in a virtual world away from those nasty inferior alveolar nerve blocks.

New research has confirmed something that makes sense: kids do well in the dental chair in virtual reality.

The Idea.

Using consumer virtual reality headsets to provide distraction during dental procedures. The good news? The research supports it.

  • 😨It's a problem. The literature estimates that dental anxiety prevalence rate in pediatric patients is high: 20 to 43% to be exact
  • 🛑Stop. One clinical study comparing virtual reality distraction and tell-showed-do revealed 10% lower stoppage of treatment rate with VR
  • 💖Decreased. A cool measurable sign. Heart rate feedback showed a decreased rate during VR treatment.
  • 👇Painless-ish. VR distraction also came along with a decreased pain perception.

Very Cool. But Not Very Practical?

While it's a novel idea, we can think of a few problems.

  1. Little kids with big headsets. A real problem could just be obtaining the proper visualization to perform procedures.
  2. Cost. Not exactly cheap. A quick Amazon search of VR headsets shows that the cost will set you back a bit.
  3. Contaminated. An expensive piece of technology and water, air, materials from a procedure seem like they won't mix.

Literature. Visualized. 👇