Does the mere thought of going for a dental check-up make you feel shaky and nauseated, while your heart beats so fast you think it's going to explode? If the thing that really freaks you out at the dentist's is the sound of the drill, you may like to thank scientists at three London universities who have developed a clever gadget that cancels out that dreaded high-pitched, whirring sound.
The device - which filters out the sounds of the drill but still allows you to hear the dentist and other dental staff talking to you - could revolutionise dental care for those who are so anxious when they go to the dentist's that they avoid going for regular check-ups.
Scientists from King's College London, Brunel University and London South Bank University pioneered the invention, which works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones. You just plug your iPod, MP3 player or mobile phone into the device and listen to your own music while you're in the dentist's chair.
The gadget analyses the incoming sound wave and cancels out unwanted noise, with electronic filters locking on to the sound waves that are causing the whirring and removing them.
Clever stuff. And the best thing is, while the device isn't available for dentist's to buy yet, when it is on the market the inventors say it will be fairly cost-effective. And any patient with an MP3 player can plug themselves into it.
Are you afraid of going to the dentist to the extent that you'll only make an appointment if you have the most awful toothache?