A new device to ease patient anxiety in the dentist’s chair has been introduced to UK dental practices.

US neuroscientists have developed a device that helps relax nervous dental patients.

Nucalm uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) to put the patient into a state of deep relaxation via a headset that transmits the electrical and sound frequencies to the patient’s brain.

It gets the brainwaves to the point of deep relaxation usually associated with meditation and sleep.

Patients also don dark glasses and are given gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) tablets, a nutritional supplementl also linked to a relaxed state.

During the treatment, the patient has two electrodes connected to a generator that sends gentle electrical and sound frequencies to the brain.

The theory is that this tells the brain to open up the receptors to GABA; this induces relaxation.

Clinical trials have established that CES is effective at treating a range of stress disorders, including insomnia, chronic anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

It is thought to encourage the release of brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with relaxation and feelings of wellbeing.

Dr Mervyn Druian, voted in Dentistry’s top 50 most influential people in the UK dental profession, has been using the equipment since March and has given it the thumbs up.

At www.nucalm.com, it’s claimed that ‘of all Nucalm patients surveyed, 95% would use NuCalm again and 98% would recommend Nucalm to family and friends’ and reports one US dentist as saying: ‘I have focused on improving the dental experience for over 40 years. NuCalm is an incredible solution to a problem that has plagued our profession forever – fear, anxiety, and avoidance from the people we serve.

‘The Nucalm process is fascinating. My guests and I collaborate on creating a relaxed, positive dental experience with minimal effort. It’s an interesting co-discovery of how good a dental appointment can feel.’