Technology By Travis Ketzak / June 20, 2017 Biting the bullet may soon be a thing of the past when it comes to the dentist. Scientists in the UK have discovered that having patients wear virtual reality headsets during procedures can lower their anxiety. The study had three groups. One group underwent a standard dental procedure, the second group experienced an urban environment with virtual reality (VR) headsets, and the third group experienced a beach environment with the VR headsets. They found that the group with the beach environment had the greatest decrease in stress levels. In fact, the group with the urban environment was almost no different at all than the control group with no VR. The group with the beach VR experienced significant reductions in their heart rate and blood pressure. So, that means that it’s actually healthy to go to the beach. That’s what we call good news! Melissa Auvray, the dentist involved in the study, is excited about the potential of VR in the dental office. “The benefit of the VR is that with sedation patients need to have someone with them to help them home afterwards, and the dentist and dental nurse need further training,” she said. “However, with the VR, any dentist with a dental degree could learn to use the VR kit, and it could benefit patients.” Obviously this isn’t going to help everyone. It doesn’t erase pain by any means. But, it’s a great distraction from an otherwise stressful situation. We’ll take sitting on a virtual beach over staring at the dentist’s forehead any day.