It is estimated that about half the population feels anxious about going to the dentist (dental anxiety or dental fear). Skipping the dentist can lead to bad oral health, which in turn can affect the entire immune system.
Using inmuRELAX can help calm and distract patients, and it provides dentist and dental hygienists with a calmer working environment.
Dental anxiety in numbers
According to a 2015 study from Dental Research Journal as many as 59% of people have anxieties about going to the dentist, and 5–10% suffer from dental phobia (also known as odontophobia).
Dental anxiety and dental phobia make people averse to going to the dentist, and often make people skip dental appointments and regular check-ups. In severe cases people may even refrain completely from going to the dentist, even if they are in need of treatment, because their fear is greater than the dental discomfort they experience.
Prevailing health issues
While feeling nervous or ill at ease about going to the dentist, people who suffer from dental phobia may experience anxiety attacks, and dental fear is recognised as a phobia.
Dental anxiety often manifests itself as a fear of feeling pain or discomfort in the mouth, or a fear of the unknown—of not knowing or not being in control of what happens in your mouth. The most common triggers for dental anxiety are the sound of the drill and the needles used for general anaesthesia.
Not going to the dentist regularly can lead to bad dental health and problems like tooth decay and plaque build-up. Good dental hygiene is more important than just having good-looking teeth. Tooth decay can lead to infection that can put a strain on the entire immune system and problems in the jaw and sinus area.
What inmuRELAX does to help
By producing gentle vibrations and calming music, inmuRELAX can help soothe dental anxiety. It creates a calming atmosphere, and gives the patient something else to focus on.
Anxieties are never rational, and it is often the smallest things that can be the greatest source of anxiety, such as the sound of the drill, the sight of a needle lying on a tray or the smell of the dental clinic. Even just hearing the dentist talk using technical terms to describe one’s teeth during an examination can seem frightening.
It’s the anticipation of pain and of discomfort that is unnerving, the fear of the unknown—not necessarily the examination or treatment itself. Lying in the dentist chair can make you feel like you are powerless, and the feeling of not being in control can be a major trigger for anxiety.
inmuRELAX can help give the patient some of that feeling of control back by providing a comfortable distraction. Once in a while the patient has to interact with inmuRELAX by pressing or stroking it in order to keep the vibrations and the music playing. That gives the patient an easy task to focus on. inmuRELAX has a soft cover, and details such as the golden wave that runs around it, which can keep the fingers distracted.
The gentle vibrations help you calm down, and this makes it easier for the patient to drift away.
For dentists and dental hygienists, using inmuRELAX can make their work easier, because they don’t need to spend as much time talking to the patient to keep the patient distracted.
With inmuRELAX you not only have a beautiful soft cushion to hold and keep your hands busy, but you also have the relaxing and calming music and soft vibrations. With your hand in the pocket you feel safe and can more easily get away into your own world while the dentist is doing his or her job.
“Usually I’ll fill the time before the anaesthesia starts working by idle chat. But with inmuRELAX that hasn’t been necessary. It makes the patient lie completely still while they just feel the vibrations and listen to the music.”
Why inmuRELAX helps
- Helps reduce dental anxiety by an unique combination of tactile stimulation, relaxing music and vibrations.
- Is simple to use. Turns on and off automatically.
- Provides a distraction, and gives the patient something else to focus on.
- Gentle vibrations help you relax.
- Helps to stop the patient tensing up during treatment.
- Gives the patient something to hug and cuddle during treatment.
- The pocket makes it easy to hold and gives comfort.
- Is easy to clean. The cover is machine washable at 60˚C, and extra covers are purchasable.
- Is robust and can handle being used as a professional instrument.
- Has a long-lasting battery lifespan.
“Good planning is everything”
Dental hygienist Nina Rune has twelve years’ experience giving dental treatments to kids and teenagers with dental anxiety.
“The most important thing when working with people with dental anxiety, is to take everything one step at a time. To remain calm and not stray from what you’ve planned beforehand. Good planning is everything,” Nina Rune explains.
Nina uses the inmu to calm and to distract her patients while she examines them.
“They feel like they can relax”
“At the clinic we specialise in treating kids and teenagers with dental anxiety. Basically, we have collected the patients here that have anxieties or special needs—diagnosed and undiagnosed. They come here, and they feel like they can relax.”
“One of my patients is a 17-year-old boy. When he comes to the clinic, he’ll stand around for a bit in the waiting room. He just has to get used to the situation and go through the procedures with us before we begin. He’ll tell me that he’s ready, and we can begin the treatment.”
Going through the individual steps of the treatment and making the patient comfortable with the procedure and the instruments used during the treatment is important in making the patient as comfortable as possible before the treatment begins.
In some cases, she and her colleagues will even let a patient come in at a time when there is no one else in the clinic.
“It can feel embarrassing to be afraid to go to the dentist”
“For some of the boys it can feel embarrassing to be afraid to go to the dentist, and they don’t want their friends to know that they feel nervous about coming here.”
She also visits people’s own homes. For many people with dental anxiety simply being in the dental clinic can feel frightening.
“Sometimes we’ll do home visits too before patients come to the clinic, to reassure them about what is going to happen during the procedure.”
“Everything gets easier when you are calm”
And often Nina Rune will start out slow. First by simply having the patient lie down in the dentist chair. Then by making a simple, non-invasive examination of the patient’s teeth. Slowly, and by taking everything one step at a time, she makes the patient accustomed to the situation and the environment, and when he or she feels like they are ready to move on to the next step, Nina will continue the treatment.
Often even simple procedures can be triggering for someone with dental anxiety.
“The last time he was here, we were making a mould for a nightguard for him, because he has been grinding his teeth. That’s something he has never tried before. And he wasn’t too happy about it. He had been worried about the procedure for several days when he came here.”
“I told him about the inmuRELAX, and told him that I thought it would help him. And it really did. It helped him calm down, and everything gets easier when you are calm. He was very excited about using the inmuRELAX. It made a huge difference. The inmuRELAX really saved him.”
“The inmu really saved him”
Through using inmuRELAX she has found that the inmuRELAX can help calm and provide a distraction during the procedure.
“I’ll give them the inmuRELAX when they are lying in the chair. Then I’ll use a disinfectant wipe to clean their hands. I’ll put the inmuRELAX on their stomach and guide their hand into the pocket.”
Instead of focusing on the look of the dentist’s instruments and on what is going on inside their mouth, they can instead focus their attention on the inmuRELAX; on the soft material, on the music, and on the gentle vibrations that it produces.
After I tried the inmu at the dentist, I felt much more relaxed and safe. It removed my attention on what the dentist was doing.
- A study conducted at three dental clinics showed that 85% of the patients (mostly children) felt less pain when using inmuRELAX. 79% felt that inmuRELAX provided a comfortable distraction, and that they paid less attention to what the dentist was doing.
- Dentists who have used inmuRELAX report a noticeable improvement on their working environment after introducing inmuRELAX. It has made it easier to calm down patients, made it easier to treat patients with dental anxiety or dental phobia, and has allowed them to relax more during treatments.
inmuRELAX makes a huge differencen every time we use it in our daily work. It makes the child relax – and the parents too. We use it in a lot of different situation. It also makes us relax – the whole treatment room comes in a state of calmness.
- Disinfect the patient’s hands before using inmuRELAX.
- Put inmuRELAX onto the patient’s chest or stomach to get the full use of the gentle vibrations and music.
- Guide the patient’s hand into the inmuRELAX’s pocket to make it easier to hold.
- inmuRELAX can be held with one hand or both hands.
- Show the tactile elements of inmuRELAX, and guide the patient to run their fingers along the golden wave along the inmuRELAX’s curve to provide a distraction.
- Tell the patient to focus on keeping inmuRELAX playing during treatment to serve as a distraction.
- Raise inmuRELAX into a vertical position, if the patient has trouble hearing the music.
- Ask the patient to move inmuRELAX around during treatment, as this helps loosen up the muscles, and helps them from tensing up.
“inmuRELAX makes the patient feel like they are holding someone’s hand, and it calms them down enough for me to be able to complete the treatment.”
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