Do you like going to the dentist?


dental patient wearing headphonesI ask you, tongue in cheek, do you like going to the dentist? Because of course no one likes going to the dentist.  Having a person that you don’t know very well, leaning over you, while you are laid back in a helpless position and with a drill or other noisy tools coming at you. Of course it’s awful!!

Recently I was told that after all of the fillings I’ve had, all of the crowns, Invisalign braces and a triple root canal in one tooth, now I need a tooth extraction!  I was truly horrified because I never had a moment of pain.  I didn’t realize that you could have a serious dental infection and feel no pain whatsoever.

But I definitely knew that I would have pain during and after a back molar extraction.  And I really hate pain! That’s one of the main reasons that I created Surgical Serenity Solutions, because I, personally, hate pain and don’t want to take opioids or other potentially addictive medications.

Going to the dentist is just one of those necessary evils I guess, and if you don’t go, you risk even more pain than if you do go!

I did learn to use nitrous oxide judiciously because when they remove the nitrous oxide, the brain fog goes away immediately, but nitrous, plus carefully chosen music is a really good combination, I think!

What does the research say about music and dentistry?

surgical headphones in dental surgery

I think it’s interesting to note that dentistry was one of the very first sub-specialties in the medical-dental field to use music through headphones on a regular basis.  I vividly remember going to the dentist in the late 1950’s in South Carolina (USA) and being given a large pair of headphones with 5 different channels on it as well as a channel of “white noise.”  I thought it was pretty cool and it definitely distracted me from worrying about the pain that might result from drilling in my mouth.

Later I learned that dentists were being taught to use “audio analgesia”  during their procedures to supplement and augment the effects of novocaine which lasted for a very long time.

A recent study, “Effectiveness of music interventions on dental anxiety,”

reports that “music listening significantly lowered levels of anxiety and stress of females during dental                              procedures. Authors of the study concluded that there was a strong physiological (increased                          secretory immunoglobulins level) response to music by females.”

And their recommendation?

“It is recommended that pre-recorded music be offered through

                 headphones during the dental procedure to adult patients to reduce their dental anxiety.”

My Experience

So, the day finally arrived for my tooth extraction and I had chosen a specific piece of music that I wanted to listen to during the extraction and to listen in conjunction with nitrous oxide.  I was concerned that my own playlists might not be loud enough so I chose  piece for large concert band, called “Folksong Suite” by Ralph Vaughn-Williams.

I learned my lesson about listening to free sites! I was listening to my chosen music on YouTube and found that every 3-4 minutes the music stopped in order to have a commercial!! I was so frustrated because the music then did not automatically re-start. There was drilling and pulling, and drilling and pulling because it was a large molar and had been in place for a long time.

Luckily I was coherent enough to switch the music to my classical playlist and just turn the volume up enough to block most of the sounds.   The procedure was over sooner than I expected and I got through it with very little trauma.

Needless to say, music through headphones is highly recommended when going to the dentist.  Even for a simple cleaning I take mine because now they use very high-speed tools that emit a loud and high-pitched sound which is disconcerting to me.

Every dentist that I’ve talked to is more than happy to let patients bring in their own headphones and music.  And remember to download the playlists at