By Jim Poole, MBA
A vacant stare, rigid body posture, incessant talking, numerous trips to the bathroom, sweating, irritability, inability to concentrate .... This is the face of anxiety and it is a frequent visitor to dental offices. Anxious patients don't want to behave the way they do, they simply can't help themselves.
Anxiety is the physiological response to a threat, real or perceived. An anxious response begins when a stressor is perceived by the amygdala, which contacts an array of brain regions to activate the fight-or-flight system.(1) The fight-or-flight response uses the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system to alert the body to speed up, tense up, become hypervigilant, and take action. The sympathetic nervous system triggers the release of epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline).(2)
Epinephrine impacts the body’s physiology resulting in an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and hypervigilant senses. Epinephrine mobilizes energy for muscles, increases cardiovascular tone so oxygen can travel more rapidly, and turns off nonessential activities like growth. In parallel, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) into the pituitary gland, triggering the release of the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH travels through the blood stream to the adrenal cortex, where it initiates the release of numerous hormones that ready the body to respond to a threat.(3)
Once the fight-or-flight response is activated, there is no turning back. The body focuses exclusively on fighting or fleeing from the stressor and the mind cannot rationalize or self-regulate until after the threat is removed and time passes. Anxious dental patients feel threatened and will challenge the procedure as an act of survival.
According to the American Dental Association, fear and anxiety keep over 60 million Americans from seeing a dentist, which has a significant negative impact on the overall health of the American population. NuCalm is a revolutionary drug-free technology that is quickly becoming the safest and least intrusive solution for alleviating patient fear and anxiety.
NuCalm leverages the synergistic benefits of four sensory applications:
• Proprietary chewable tablets containing natural anxiolytic neurotransmitters that interrupt the fight-or-flight response
• Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) – An FDA-cleared device for treating anxiety, insomnia, and depression (research indicates a mild electrical current catalyzes the effectiveness of the NuCalm neurotransmitters)
• Proprietary neuroacoustic software – a low-frequency binaural beat paces the brain to the first stage of sleep
• Black-out glasses to remove visual stimulation and help maintain relaxation
NuCalm's patent-pending technology addresses the midbrain activities responsible for producing stress and anxiety by naturally mimicking the communication pathways used to prepare the body for sleep. NuCalm works on the GABAergic system to create a biomimetic negative feedback loop that reduces the action of the HPA axis (Hypothalamus – Anterior Pituitary Gland – Adrenal Gland). NuCalm predictably and reliably entrains brain wave function to the first stage of sleep. Patients in the first stage of sleep are physically unable to have an anxious response.
NuCalm causes no side effects and requires no recuperative time or post-procedure supervision, meaning patients can return immediately to daily activities after having the procedure. Over 27,400 dental patients in the U.S. have used NuCalm with exceptional satisfaction rates – 95% of patients state they would use NuCalm again and 98% state they would recommend NuCalm to their friends and family. Imagine a dental office free of anxiety. Now that is revolutionary.
1. Wu L-J, Ko SW, Toyoda H, Zhao M-G, et al (2007) Increased anxiety-like behavior and enhanced synaptic efficacy in the amygdala of GluR5 knockout mice. PLoS ONE 2(1): e167.
2. Ben-Zvi A, Vernon SD, Broderick G (2009) Model-based therapeutic correction of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction. PLoS Comput Biol 5(1): e1000273.
3. McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. 2005; 802.
Jim Poole, MBA, is the President and CEO of Solace, a neuroscience company that develops anxiolytic clinical solutions for healthcare providers.