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A new study from Harvard University has found that using hand signals to communicate could ease patients' anxiety in the dentist's chair.
The research paper claims that using hand signals to indicate that the patient wants to take a time-out from the procedure will reduce nervousness in those who are fearful of the dentist, Dentistry.co.uk reported.
It also looked at a number of other anxiety-relieving strategies, such as anaesthesia and conscious sedation.
According to the website, apprehension over visiting the dentist can outweigh the pain of toothache for some people.
A system of dental signing has already been developed in the US by Raymond Cadden, who came up with the idea while he was having veneers fitted.
"During one of the sessions I asked the dentist if she would entertain my use of some simple hand signals throughout the procedure 'I believe that 'scratch my nose' and 'rinse my mouth out' were the two signals that we used - every procedure after that was great," he told the website.
Mr Cadden has designed eight simple hand signals to allow the patient to indicate if they are in pain, have an itch or are ok, among other things.
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