New device to ease dental patients' anxiety
 

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New device to ease dental patients' anxiety

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New device to ease dental patients' anxiety

 

New device to ease dental patients' anxiety

An innovative device that cancels out the noise of the dental drillcould spell the end of people's anxiety about trips to the dentist. That'saccording to experts at King's College London, Brunel University andLondon South Bank University, who pioneered the invention.

Itis widely known that the sound of the dental drill is the prime cause ofanxiety about dental treatment, and some patients avoid trips to thedentist because of it. This new device could help address people's fearsand encourage them to seek the oral healthcare treatment they need. 



Theprototype device works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphonesbut is designed to deal with the very high pitch of the dental drill.Patients would simply unplug their headphones, plug the device intotheir MP3 player or mobile phone, and then plug the headphones into thedevice, allowing them to listen to their own music while completelyblocking out the unpleasant sound of the drill and suction equipment.The patient can still hear the dentist and other members of the dentalteam speaking to them but other unwanted sounds are filtered out by thedevice.

Containing a microphone and a chip that analyses theincoming sound wave, the device produces an inverted wave to cancel outunwanted noise. It also uses technology called ‘adaptive filtering'where electronic filters lock onto sound waves and removes them, even ifthe amplitude and frequency change as the drill is being used. 



Thedevice was the brainchild of Professor Brian Millar at King's CollegeLondon's Dental Institute who was inspired initially by carmaker Lotus'efforts to develop a system that removed unpleasant road noise, whilestill allowing drivers to hear emergency sirens. Since then, followingover a decade of collaboration with engineering researchers at BrunelUniversity and London South Bank University, a prototype has beendesigned, built and successfully evaluated.  


Although theproduct is not yet available to dental practitioners, King's is callingfor an investor to help bring it to market.

Professor Millar said:‘Many people put off going to the dentist because of anxiety associatedwith the noise of the dentist's drill. But this device has the potentialto make fear of the drill a thing of the past. 


‘The beauty ofthis gadget is that it would be fairly cost-effective for dentists tobuy, and any patient with an MP3 player would be able to benefit fromit, at no extra cost. What we need now is an investor to develop theproduct further, to enable us to bring this device to as many dentalsurgeries as possible, and help people whose fear of visiting thedentist stops them from seeking the oral healthcare they need.'

 Posted on : Mon 10th - Jan - 2011

 

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