Why Dentists Should Incorporate Scents Into Their Office

scenting dentist office

Dentist Offices Often Trigger Negativity

One of the most common and shared phobias is that of the dentist; dentophobia occurs in people of all ages and can range from mild to severe, and unfortunately can have some quite negative consequences. Even for those of us without phobias, the experience of a dentist’s office can be quite a nerve-wracking experience. It’s not only the sight of the equipment which can make our nerve endings jangle, but the smell of disinfectant and clove oil is so strongly associated with the dentist that our mood is instantly changed. 

The Possible Reasons For Dentophobia

Being ‘afraid’ of the dentist might mean different things to different people. For some, it might mean fear of the actual dentist themselves. If someone has had a negative experience with a dentist, then they might struggle to get past this and may continue to view dentists in somewhat of a cold and unfeeling light, despite the efforts of a new dentist to help them to feel at ease. 

For others, it might be the association between pain and visiting the dentist. A lot of people are sensitive to mouth pain and have difficulties with facing pain that they think will be unbearable, despite evidence to the contrary. This is also associated with a fear of needles, which many people who visit the dentist unfortunately also possess. 

The Association between Smell and Fear of the Dentist

Sometimes, even the sounds and smells that are associated with the dentist can bring back unpleasant memories, causing people to feel stressed and therefore, associate distress with their visit to the dentist. In fact, according to psychological studies, the olfactory bulb in the brain which is responsible for detecting odor is also linked to both memories and emotions. Hence, why the clinical scent of dental products such as clove oil can have such a strong triggering effect on someone with a phobia of the dentist. 

Using Scent to Change the Experience of Going to the Dentist

However, the experience of visiting the dentist is changing in recent years, and this is mostly to do with the fact that dentists are increasingly recognizing and sympathizing with their patients' fears. They realize that with gentle words and a kind manner that they can significantly relax their patient’s anxiety. Yet, the smell of a dentist’s office will continue to work against them, unless they choose to manipulate it to work in their favor. It would be incredibly empowering for a dentist to be able to use scent to help people to remember fond memories instead of negative ones. 

Using a Scent to Evoke Positivity

Instead of triggering anxiety, a dentist could invoke feelings of relaxation by using a scent diffuser to disperse the calming effects of lavender and orange or perhaps vanilla. In fact, there are thousands of scent combinations available through essential oils that are scientifically proven to evoke feelings of positivity and good memories. Choosing a relaxing scent for your office can help a dentist transform the experiences of their patients into a positive one, by giving their office an extra professional edge and also keeping their patients relaxed and at ease.


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