Anxiety is a flight or fight response to anticipated threat. Dentists routinely encounter patients with dental anxiety and find difficult to manage such patients. Current allopathic medications used to manage dental anxiety have side effects. Aromatherapy is the use of plant essential oils for therapeutic purposes. These essential oils are applied on skin or inhaled and never to be taken by mouth. It has been found that aroma of lavender reduces current state anxiety. This is attributed to the ability of lavender to promote relaxation through autonomous nervous system. It has been suggested that essential oils like lavender act like agonists of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA has inhibitory effects of nervous system. Also, it is thought to reduce the activity of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). Cypress, basil, jasmine, chamomile, juniper, rose, ylang ylang, neroli, marjoram, geranium, and clary sage aromas are also of benefit to reduce patients anxiety. Aromatherapy has been observed to reduce anxiety in dental office. The current article discusses the application of aromatherapy in managing dental anxiety to inculcate and develop research in this rewarding field.
Key words: Aromatherapy, Anxiety, Dental, Essential oil