Use of essential oils to reduce anxiety in the dental office
I have been using therapeutic grade essential oils on myself and my dental patients since 2008. I have seen dramatic results in reducing patient’s anxiety levels when applied prior to and during the dental procedures. This article will outline the use of essential oils in a clinical setting.
I diffuse essential oils in my operatory daily with the use of an ultrasonic cold water diffuser. The diffuser emits a fine mist of essential oil particles into the air along with negative ions, like the ocean. Diffusing essential oils increases the oxygen level in the air along with reducing bacteria, mold and fungus. The oils have antimicrobial and antiviral properties.(1)
Diffusing oils is a gentle way to incorporate them into your practice to improve air quality. I have found that people do not react negatively to the aromas of the diffused oils as they might to chemical fragrances that are cut with toxic chemicals and solvents. The essential oils that I use are pure plant oils recovered through steam distillation. The oils are retrieved through a cool water extraction process to preserve the therapeutic properties. Many of the oils are organic or kosher. Because they are pure they can be applied topically, and some can even be ingested.
Direct palm inhalation is another great method to benefit from essential oils. Place one or two drops of oils in the palm of your hand, rub in a circular motion. Cup your hands over your nose and inhale the aroma. I do not recommend health food store oils as they can be toxic due to the chemicals used to extract them. If I have a patient that is anxious, I like to diffuse lavender, orange or oil called Peace & Calming. Peace & Calming contains tangerine, orange, ylang ylang, patchouli and blue tansy.
One experience that I can share is about a male patient, mid 50’s, with a past history of panic attacks. He could never sit through a prophylaxis appointment without getting out of the chair at five minute intervals. I asked him if I could try some Peace & Calming oil on his wrists. With his permission, I asked him to apply one drop to each wrist, rub them together and inhale the aroma. He was able to sit for the entire procedure without getting out of the chair. The next time that I saw him, he exposed his wrists and said, “Don’t forget the Peace & Calming oil. Inhaling essential oils affects the limbic system of the brain and has been used to help cancer patients overcome anxiety from their treatments.(2) Be careful to not get oils in your eyes of the eyes of your patients.
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