VR Pain Relief: Dentists Using Virtual Worlds To Distract From Real Agony

By Ian Morris on at

Dental work is often agony, even with that pain relief they claim to give you - so anything that can reduce it would be welcome. VR, apparently, is the answer, with patients being given one of three scenes to enjoy.

The study divided the people into three groups - no VR, VR city scene and VR coastal scene. Patients who got the third option, the coast, reported less pain and fewer memories of the pain during the treatment. The test was conducted during both extractions and fillings in a dentist in Devon.

The Register reports that even people with dental anxiety (surely every living human is in this category) and different genders experienced a benefit. At least those who got the beach scene did, the city is apparently no more relaxing than no VR at all.

Of course, there are extra complications with using VR. The hardware is pretty bulky and might make some tasks harder for the dentist. You also need to be able to hear, so total immersion with sound isn't really an option - although there are loads of ways around this. The dentists also need to be wary of the extra cabling, we don't want anyone falling over with that whizzy drill going full-tilt.

It's not clear if anyone tested VR porn as a relaxation method. Presumably that's next. [The Register via Engadget]

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