A small startup is promoting its exciting new product: a relaxation app that can help children be calm at the dentist. This is a great potential benefit: children need to get in the habit of seeing the dentist to establish good oral health for life. However, they often see the place as strange and scary, and they can have a hard time being at ease.

And they’re not the only ones, either. Dental anxiety is one of the most common fears experienced by adults, too. However, while relaxation apps are a great place to start if you feel anxiety at the dentist, we have a tool that’s even better: NuCalm. NuCalm utilizes neuroscience to deactivate your body’s stress response so that you can truly relax at the dentist.

Man resting with his eyes closed while listening to his NuCalm device for his consultation with Dr. Pamela Marzban

A Relaxation App for Children

The new Yonder app, launched this week, is an intelligent approach to helping kids acquaint themselves with the dentist. A big part of the problem is a lack of familiarity. When kids go to the dentist for the first time, or even go back after a year, they see very unfamiliar surroundings and people they don’t know. You might be nearby, but a dentist is a big, scary stranger that is “armed” with metal tools.

To overcome this lack of familiarity and eliminate unpleasant surprises at the dentist’s office, the Yonder app uses something almost like augmented reality, which you and your kids might be familiar with from the game Pokemon Go! It isn’t a true augmented reality, it’s a virtual tour in which the cartoon hippo Mimi shows children around the dentist’s office, explaining some basics about the office. It’s obviously a work in progress, but it shows promise, and as the creators get feedback, they will probably improve the app to provide more information and potentially make variations that are helpful for children of all ages (such as explainers about fillings, fluoride varnishes, or other treatments). With more development, the app will probably become a very valuable tool to help children be more relaxed at their dental appointments.

The Benefits and Limitations of Relaxation Apps

Of course, there are also many apps out there currently that help adults overcome anxiety, not just about the dentist, but about all the things that can weigh heavy on the mind. (It turns out that adulthood is full of worries–who knew?)

There are definitely some benefits to using relaxation apps. One of the great things is that they come in many varieties so you can find the one that’s best for you. Are you interested in having a “worry box” to drop your concerns into or would you rather just have some nature sounds to listen to? Want to try self-hypnosis? They have all those apps and more. They’re generally free, too, so you can try a few different ones and find out which one you like best.

Plus, many of the apps are free. That makes it easy to try different apps and find one that works well for you.

However, the apps are really very limited in their ability to help you relax. There are some basic pointers for helping you relax or meditate, but in the end, all the work is yours. If you don’t know how to meditate or get yourself into a relaxed state, you’re kind of out of luck. And for many of the apps, the only thing they’re offering you is “relaxing” sounds, which can actually be very annoying for many people.

Plus, there are all the standard problems you find with apps. Many of these apps are free only during trial periods, and you can get stuck with paying a full year’s membership as soon as the trial period ends. Then have to fight to get a refund–doesn’t sound very relaxing, does it? And speaking of things to worry about: free apps are notorious for their privacy problems. You often don’t know what data the app is collecting and who it’s sending it to.

A True Relaxation Solution

While sedation dentistry is very effective, we understand that many people would rather find a different way to relax at the dentist than relying on drugs. That’s why we offer NuCalm. In some ways, it’s very similar to a relaxation app–you put on headphones and an eye mask and listen to sounds. But the sounds aren’t just noise: it’s neuroacoustic software designed to put your brainwaves at a relaxed frequency. Plus, it’s combined with cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) that has been proven to help treat anxiety, and the use of natural sleep hormones to help you relax. It takes just five minutes to take effect, and it can last as long as your appointment.

You won’t be asleep, you’ll be in a deep, meditative state, and when we turn it off, you’ll be ready to go about your day. Far from anxious, you’ll probably feel rested and rejuvenated.

Would you like to learn more about this great alternative to sedation dentistry and relaxation apps? Please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with North Virginia dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban at her office in Burke.