New device to put an end to dental phobiasby Hannah McLaverty-Williamson
A new gadget which eases anxiety for people with a phobia of the dentist's chair is being introduced in UK dental practises.
Scientists in the US developed the device called NuCalm, which has been specially designed to benefit the one in four people that suffer from 'dental phobia' and avoiding a trip to the dentists at all costs.
The NuCalm device uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CAS) to put patients in a deep state of relaxation. There are two stages to the treatment, first the patient is given a tablet which contains a chemical called gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA); the chemical is linked to being in a relaxed state and is already produced naturally by the brain.
Whilst having treatment, two electrodes are connected to a generator which sends electrical and sound frequencies to the brain. The scientists theory is that this tells the brain to open up the receptors to GABA, thus inducing relaxation.
Dr Mervy Druian, a private dentist in North London, has been using the device since March. He says the reaction some patients have since had using the device has been extraordinary.
One patient, Marilyn Henshaw from Chesterfield has recently benefited from NuCalm. She told The Daily Mail: "I've always been nervous about going to the dentist and often put it off. Over the years, I didn't need anything done. But, recently, I needed to get my teeth sorted out.
"I was given headphones to listen to classical music. I had two electrodes attached behind my ears, although I couldn't feel anything. During the procedure I felt relaxed. Although I need to back for another few appointments, now I'm not scared."
There are a range of phobia treatment methods available for those with dental phobias. Hypnotherapy and neuro linguistic programming are other popular methods. Phobias reside in the unconscious part of a person's mind, and these techniques focus on retraining both the conscious and unconscious mind. As a result, patients experience significant changes in their attitudes towards their fears.