The Tunes That Ease Dental Jitters: Science Finds Calm in Music

Published January 28, 2024

Picture this: you're in the dentist's waiting room, the scent of antiseptic in the air, and the uneasy flutter of nerves in your stomach. Now imagine a song starts to play, a melody you know and love, one that calms you down. According to recent research, that song could make all the difference in your dental visit experience. A digital healthcare platform, Tebra, investigated musical preferences and discovered that for many people, classical tunes tend to be the most calming genre.

The Power of a Good Melody

Music can be a potent force in easing patient anxiety before a medical appointment. Tebra's survey noted a particular song that stood out as a beacon of relaxation: 'Don't Stop Believin'' by classic rock band Journey. This anthem topped the charts of calming tracks for waiting rooms, suggesting that a familiar and uplifting song could be a simple yet effective tool to improve patient wellbeing.

Genres to Avoid in Waiting Rooms

While some genres like classical and rock have their soothing champions, others are less welcome in the context of medical waits. Surveyed people ranked metal, hip-hop/rap, and gospel as the least preferred music types in waiting rooms, suggesting that these could magnify stress rather than alleviate it.

The Influence of Music on Patient Perceptions

More than just tunes for passing time, the music heard in medical settings can genuinely sway how patients feel and act. This impact extends to their perception of pain, as the survey revealed an intriguing twist: the same classical music known for its relaxing properties was also linked to the sensation of pain in the waiting room. Country music, on the other hand, was connected to feelings of anxiety.

Spotify's Soothing Selections

Exploring beyond the waiting room, Spotify helped identify tracks for individual relaxation with an analysis of over 76,000 songs chosen for chill playlists by users globally. Among those are Ed Sheeran's 'Perfect' and 'Thinking Out Loud', satisfying folk-pop cravings for peaceful vibes, as well as melodious numbers from John Legend, Surf Mesa, and Coldplay.

In a surprising twist, the esteemed title of most soothing artist went to Bollywood's Pritam Chakraborty, a prolific film composer whose tracks like 'Tum Se Hi' and 'Raabta' rank highly on the list.

Scientific Support for Music's Healing Touch

A review published in 2015 by The Lancet looked into dozens of trials involving thousands of surgery patients. The conclusions were supportive of music's medicinal potential: exposure to music led to heightened comfort and diminished anxiety post-surgery. Impressively, the effect wasn't confined to conscious listening; some patients reported reduced pain even when melodies were played during surgery, hinting that music's reach might extend deeper than we realize.

music, health, science