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Chemosens Percept. 2010 Dec;3(3-4):182-189. Epub 2010 Aug 17.

Effects of Pleasant Ambient Fragrances on Dental Fear: Comparing Apples and Oranges.


Previous studies showed that orange odor reduces the anticipatory anxiety and improves the mood of patients waiting for scheduled appointments in small dental practices. We replicated these previous studies in the setting of three large dental clinics. In addition, we investigated whether another pleasant fruity smell (apple odor) is similarly associated with reduced anxiety. We included 219 patients (117 males, 102 females) between the ages of 18 and 81 in this study. While they were waiting for dental treatment, the participants were either exposed to the ambient odor of orange (N = 81) or apple (N = 69), or they received no stimulation. State anxiety, mood, and perceived level of pain of the participants were assessed using questionnaires. Statistical analysis showed no significant difference between the responses of patients in each of the three experimental groups. We therefore conclude that orange and apple odors have no effect on the anticipatory anxiety or mood of patients waiting for scheduled appointments in large dental clinics.

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