A small study published in the September issue of the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery has found that aromatherapy may be helpful in reducing dental anxiety.
The study used an orange fragrance. Some 56 people were studied, all of them needing surgery to remove an impacted wisdom tooth. Before surgery, they answered questions about their anxiety levels, and all suffered from moderate to high anxiety. They were divided into two groups for the purposes of the study.
Vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, breathing rate) were taken in the waiting room, and then several times during surgery. In the waiting room, vital signs were the same between the two groups. During surgery, one group was exposed to orange fragrance and the other was not. Those exposed to the fragrance had lower blood pressure, pulse and breathing rates during surgery than the control group.
Orange fragrance is said to regulate heartbeat, lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Other studies have found that orange or lavender fragrance can reduce anxiety in dental patients.