Experts in dentistry and filmmaking will be working in tandem to find ways of supporting patients who suffer from extreme anxiety when visiting the dentist.
The University of Plymouth has been awarded funding by the MPS Foundation to assess and then develop ways to manage dental anxiety.
They will also look to establish a novel approach to detecting subtle signs or “tells” of anxiety in the dental clinic by building a partnership between patients, clinicians, filmmakers, ethnographers, researchers, and the public.
The AngST project builds on a decade of work by researchers from the University’s Transtechnology Research Group and colleagues at the South Devon and Torbay NHS Hospital Trust.
It will see a pilot study conducted using video recordings of dental treatment, which will be used to analyse patients’ emotional experiences during dental visits.
A methodology for filming in the dental clinic will be refined and documented and used to produce a toolkit for reflexive training of dental clinicians that can be used beyond dental practice.
This will enable the researchers to design and pilot a training model that will enhance the ability of junior dentists, clinical staff, and patients themselves to be sensitive to the emergence of anxiety in the dental clinic.
The ultimate aim of the project will be to encourage all the parties to respond in a way that helps to reduce anxiety, and thereby improves the provision and take-up of dental care and the wellbeing of dentists.