virtual-reality-stockVirtual reality could prove effective for helping people with dental anxiety. A new study, published in the Journal of the California Dental Association, looked at virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) and its application within a general dental practice. Specifically, the study looked at adult and pediatric applications.

The study’s authors found that VRET resulted in significant reductions in anxiety and noted favorable behavioral changes when patients scheduled dental appointments and underwent dental treatment. In addition, the patients in the study had no dental phobia at the 6-month follow-up.

According to the study’s authors, “virtual reality (VR) for treatment of phobias involves controlled exposure of phobic patients to the virtual sights and sounds of their fear-provoking stimuli. VRET integrates real-time computer graphics and body-tracking devices to systematically expose patients to an immersive, interactive, and highly controllable computer-generated virtual environment with rich sensory visual, olfactory, and auditory cues within a contextually relevant setting.”