Clinical use of virtual reality distraction system to reduce anxiety and pain in dental procedures

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2014 Jun;17(6):359-65. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2014.0203.


Virtual reality (VR) has been used by clinicians to manage pain in clinical populations. This study examines the use of VR as a form of distraction for dental patients using both subjective and objective measures to determine how a VR system affects patients' reported anxiety level, pain level, and physiological factors. As predicted, results of self-evaluation questionnaires showed that patients experienced less anxiety and pain after undergoing VR treatment. Physiological data reported similar trends in decreased anxiety. Overall, the favorable subjective and objective responses suggest that VR distraction systems can reduce discomfort and pain for patients with mild to moderate fear and anxiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attention*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Perception
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy / methods*