Art Helps Beat Dental Fear In Nervous Patients

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By Lucy Wyndham

Despite the importance of regular dental check-ups being common knowledge, approximately 30% of the population experience dental anxiety, according to the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, 12% of Americans live with extreme dental fear, which can have a detrimental impact on their overall dental health. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to overcome dental phobia. These include making use of a range of breathing techniques, seeking out a dentist who specializes in dental phobias, and taking a trusted person along to your appointment for moral support. While these techniques may all help an anxious patient feel more at ease, chances are the dental practice is also harnessing an age-old technique to help all patients relax: artwork. 

Art is a welcome distraction

Despite the wonderful work practitioners do, a dental practice may appear to be a cold, sterile and scary place. The careful placement of cheerful and calming art pieces can serve as a very welcome distraction to nervous patients of all ages. Research has found that viewing art can help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. According to a study conducted at the University of Westminster, viewing art for as little as 30 minutes can lower the concentration of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. This will not only result in a calmer, happier overall mood, but in a possible decreased perception of pain as well.

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Murals and wall art for young and old

It is believed that works of art depicting beautiful landscapes and human faces can have a particularly calming effect on adults. When viewing portraits, for instance, the viewer will feel something similar to the mix of calm and concentration you experience when doodling facial features like eyes and lips. Similarly, paintings and prints that exude love and happiness can also help negate any negative feelings towards dental hygiene. Children may benefit exponentially from look-and-find murals and cartoon-like ceiling art that will keep their young minds distracted. Fun yet informative murals can also be used to not only engage a patient, but to provide them with valuable information about the importance of dental health as well.

The dental team will benefit too

Apart from brightening up the dental practice interior and putting the minds of anxious patients at ease, art can also be of benefit to the practice employees. There is no denying that the dental industry can be extremely stressful, especially when faced with the myriad of additional stressors 2020 has dished up. Being surrounded by relaxing artwork can help the dental team relax as well during a period when emotions are undoubtedly still running high. Being in close proximity to art can also boost productivity, decreasing errors while boosting the overall effectiveness of the staff.

Art can be used with great success to calm down nervous visitors to a dental practice. Additionally, it can also boost the aesthetic value of the practice, while simultaneously improving the productivity of the staff.


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