About the project
AngST is a collaboration between researchers in dentistry, medical simulation, and art and media technology at the University. The project started out in response to a set of video recordings of dental treatments that had been made for a previous piece of research in dentistry that used video ethnography. Our team, who had collaborated on medical simulation projects before, were curious about what this footage could tell them about creating simulated experiences that could help to train dentists. We were particularly interested about what the recordings could tell us about patient anxiety, particularly the things we could detect that would allow us to predict how anxious people were feeling.
Our team, which included film makers and film historians, were interested in how the recordings could be read using the skills of a film maker. We were interested in what can and can’t be read from a recording, and what dentists can and can’t read in their patients, and we did a pilot study that explored how the footage could be looked at from the perspective of anxiety.
Anxiety is a big problem for dentistry. Of course, it is quite understandable that we might feel uncomfortable when having dental treatment, but research has shown that anxious feelings about the dentist can not only stop people going for the treatment they need, but also seems to discourage them from caring for their dental health the rest of the time. From a dentist’s perspective, anxiety is also a big issue, dentists report a lot of anxiety themselves, particularly during their training period which can cause a lot of stress. Additionally, anxious patients can sometimes cause difficulties for dentists because they can sometimes move and react unexpectedly. So, there is lots to be gained from understanding and knowing how to recognise and reduce anxious feelings.