What is the first thing people usually notice when they walk into a room? If you guessed the smell, you are correct! Smell has a huge influence when it comes to perceiving the world around us.
Certain smells can trigger unpleasant memories in places like the dental office, which could affect how often people go. One way to change the atmosphere is through aromatherapy. Essential oils can turn a distressing dental office smell into a more calm and comforting experience.
Smells at the dentist’s office
Most dental offices have a very distinctive smell. This smell often comes from products used in dental procedures. Some of the products used in dental work can be irksome to patients. One example is eugenol, or clove oil, used in most dental fillings. It’s the most common smell at the dentist.
Dental procedures that involve drilling the tooth can give off what’s known as “tooth dust,” which can also be off-putting for some people.
Additionally, strong smells from antibacterial soap, latex gloves, and products used to sanitize dental tools, like bleach or glutaraldehyde, can be discomforting to patients.
Since smells are linked to emotions and memory, pungent dental office smells can trigger anxiety in patients who’ve had less-than-ideal experiences at the dentist.
Aromatherapy can help with undesirable dentist office smells
Most people think of aromatherapy as an add-on at the spa, but its benefits are also good for dentistry.
Using aromatherapy and essential oils like lavender has been proven to reduce anxiety in dental patients. Additionally, a study from the National Library of Medicine found that people who experienced a lavender scent while waiting for dental treatment said they were more relaxed, less anxious, and in a better mood than people who did not experience it.
While lavender is one option for aromatherapy in dental offices, citrus oil, such as sweet orange, has also been shown to have calming effects on patients.
Talk to your dentist about the possibility of using aromatherapy to change the dental office smell in your next appointment.