Use of Virtual Reality for the Management of Anxiety and Pain in Dental Treatments: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
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Virtual realityDistraction systemsDental anxietyPain
López-Valverde N, Muriel-Fernández J, López-Valverde A, Valero-Juan LF, Ramírez JM, Flores-Fraile J, Herrero-Payo J, Blanco-Antona LA, Macedo-de-Sousa B, Bravo M. Use of Virtual Reality for the Management of Anxiety and Pain in Dental Treatments: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2020; 9(10):3086. [https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103086]
(1) Background: Dental treatments often cause pain and anxiety in patients. Virtual reality (VR) is a novel procedure that can provide distraction during dental procedures or prepare patients to receive such type of treatments. This meta-analysis is the first to gather evidence on the effectiveness of VR on the reduction of pain (P) and dental anxiety (DA) in patients undergoing dental treatment, regardless of age. (2) Methods: MEDLINE, CENTRAL, PubMed, EMBASE, Wiley Library and Web of Science were searched for scientific articles in November 2019. The keywords used were: “virtual reality”, “distraction systems”, “dental anxiety” and “pain”. Studies where VR was used for children and adults as a measure against anxiety and pain during dental treatments were included. VR was defined as a three-dimensional environment that provides patients with a sense of immersion, transporting them to appealing and interactive settings. Anxiety and pain results were assessed during dental treatments where VR was used and in standard care situations. (3) Results: 32 studies were identified, of which 8 met the inclusion criteria. The effect of VR in children was significant, both for anxiety (standardized mean difference (SMD) = −1.75) and pain (SMD = −1.46). (4) Conclusions: The findings of the meta-analysis show that VR is an effective distraction method to reduce pain and anxiety in patients undergoing a variety of dental treatments; however, further research on VR as a tool to prepare patients for dental treatment is required because of the scarcity of studies in this area.