It was the writer Marcel Proust who first described the connection between scent and recollection. It is true that scents are tied to our memories. According to psychological studies, the olfactory bulb near other areas of our brain can be linked to both memories and emotion.
If you have ever been to the dentist’s office, it can be a nerve wracking experience. You walk in, see the dentist chair and all the equipment, but just the smell of the dentist office alone makes your olfactory senses go crazy. The smell of a dentist office can instantly change someone’s mood, which often triggers memories and in this case, dental anxiety. So, what exactly are those smells that are so distinct? Here is a guide to what you may be smelling:
1. Dental Products: In a dentist office, clove oil, formerly known as eugenol, is a very common smell that may be lingering around. Other smells include acrylic, disinfectant, and formaldehyde, which is used in schools when dissecting animals.
2. Cleaning products: Having a clean dentist’s office is crucial, especially to prevent infection. The common things you may smell are antibacterial soaps, alcohol, disinfection wipes, and even latex gloves. Sterilization of dental instruments as well as glutaraldehyde, is a common chemical used to clean products.
3. Dental Procedures: When dentists do procedures such as crowns, the fillings contain what is called eugenol, or clove oil. The dust called “tooth dust” that comes off your tooth into the air after drilling can also have a distinct smell. To reduce the smell, dentists will use water and suction.
While there is no way to avoid these smells when going to the dentist, you can ease your mind knowing that you are getting the best care possible. Remember that your dentist has extensive training and experience, and keeps a clean and highly functioning workspace, all to give you the best possible care.