The Use of Immersive Visualization for the Control of Dental Anxiety During Oral Debridement

Carmelo Padrino-Barrios, Gayle McCombs, Norou Diawara, Gianluca De Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of Immersive Visualization (IV) eyewear on anxious, adult patients during oral debridement.

METHODS: Thirty adult volunteers (n=23 females; n=7 males) were enrolled in the study. Participants were required to be 18 years or older, exhibit at least moderate anxiety (score 9 or higher) on the Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale-Revised (DAS-R), and be generally healthy. Individuals were excluded from participation if they presented with severe dental calculus, periodontal disease, or dental caries, were taking psychotropic drugs, had a history of convulsive disorders, vertigo, or equilibrium disorders, or required antibiotic pre-medication. Subjects received a full mouth oral prophylaxis (supra- and subgingival scaling and selective polishing) by a single experienced dental hygienist. A split mouth design was utilized whereby each subject served as their own control. Subjects were randomly divided into 2 groups: Group A used IV eyewear during the first one-half of the appointment (right side of the mouth) and Group B used IV eyewear during the second one-half of the appointment (left side of the mouth). At screening, medical and dental histories were obtained, full mouth oral examinations were performed, and DAS-R was scored to determine eligibility. At baseline, the DAS-R was re-scored to validate anxiety levels. The Calmness Scale was scored pre- and post-IV treatment on a Likert scale ranging from 1 (very calm) to 7 (less calm). At the end of the study, subjects completed a Post IV Opinion survey. Data were entered into Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011 (Microsoft Corporation Version 14.3.5) and analyzed using SAS® 9.3 statistical software.

RESULTS: Thirty subjects with a mean age of 29.9 years completed the study. Data analysis indicated no statistically significant difference between Group A and B with regard to mean DAS-R anxiety levels at baseline (3.15 and 2.40, respectively), with a p-value of 0.07. Data showed a significant difference when comparing the calmness mean scores within Group A pre- and post-IV treatments (4.66 and 2.93, respectively), with a p-value 0.01. Within Group B the data revealed a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-IV treatments (p<0.01, 4.33 and 2.13, respectively). Both treatment groups experienced a decrease in anxiety levels from pre to post IV treatments. Moreover, combined mean calmness scores of the 30 subjects (Group A and B) expressed in mean standard deviation showed there was a decrease from 4.50±1.31 in pre-IV treatment to 2.53±1.17 in post-IV treatment. Further investigation of the data showed that there was a significant correlation between calmness and gender; females reported higher levels of anxiety than men before and after IV treatment.

CONCLUSION: Results from this study support the use of IV eyewear as an effective technique to reduce anxiety in adults during oral debridement. The use of the IV eyewear was well received by all subjects. The portable, affordable and easy-to-operate IV system makes this technique an appealing approach of reducing dental anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-377
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • dental anxiety
  • immersive visualization
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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