Drill Baby Drill

Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 8:47am

Drug-free relaxation techniques help patients overcome dental dread.

If you dread going to the dentist, there is a new way to relieve anxiety about going under the drill and it doesn't involve needles or prescription drugs.

Jen Moyer admits she detests the dentist.

"It's the smells. It's the sounds," Jen says.

She says the fear has kept her out of the chair for years and her dentist, Dr. David Stall, says she is not alone.

Along with nitrous oxide or laughing gas and sedation, Dr. Stall now offers an alternative way to relax while he works.

It's a four step process called Nu-Calm.

"It's a very natural way to help someone relax," he says.

First, Jen takes the supplements gapa and l-thanine.

"Basically the same thing your body produces when you are ready for sleep," explains Dr. Stall.

Then she's hooked up to a very mild form of electrical stimulation.

Next, she listens to classical music embedded with a beat that the dentist says puts her into the first stage of sleep, the Alpha Stage, a kind of hypnosis.

It's all topped off with dark glasses to block out all light.

Jen, who said she was very anxious even though she was having very little drilling today did seem to calm down pretty quickly.

Her feet stopped their anxious tapping and her breathing appeared more relaxed.

"I felt pretty relaxed," she said afterwards. "I really can't believe I'm saying that."

Dr. Stall says the cost of Nu-Calm is about $75 dollars, and it's not covered by insurance.

Experts say that taken in small doses, the supplements are likely safe, but they're not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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