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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 78  |  Page : 337--342

Human amygdala activation by the sound produced during dental treatment: A fMRI study

1 Graduate Institute of Medical Mechatronics; Taiouan Interdisciplinary Otolaryngology Laboratory, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
2 Taiouan Interdisciplinary Otolaryngology Laboratory, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
3 Department of Periodontology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
4 Department of Prosthodontics and General Dentistry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan
5 Department of Medical Imaging and Intervention, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou; Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Science, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
6 Department of General Dentistry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Ying-Chin Peng
5 Fu-Shin Street, Kwei-Shan 333, Taoyuan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.165063

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During dental treatments, patients may experience negative emotions associated with the procedure. This study was conducted with the aim of using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to visualize cerebral cortical stimulation among dental patients in response to auditory stimuli produced by ultrasonic scaling and power suction equipment. Subjects (n = 7) aged 23-35 years were recruited for this study. All were right-handed and underwent clinical pure-tone audiometry testing to reveal a normal hearing threshold below 20 dB hearing level (HL). As part of the study, subjects initially underwent a dental calculus removal treatment. During the treatment, subjects were exposed to ultrasonic auditory stimuli originating from the scaling handpiece and salivary suction instruments. After dental treatment, subjects were imaged with fMRI while being exposed to recordings of the noise from the same dental instrument so that cerebral cortical stimulation in response to aversive auditory stimulation could be observed. The independent sample confirmatory t-test was used. Subjects also showed stimulation in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, indicating that the ultrasonic auditory stimuli elicited an unpleasant response in the subjects. Patients experienced unpleasant sensations caused by contact stimuli in the treatment procedure. In addition, this study has demonstrated that aversive auditory stimuli such as sounds from the ultrasonic scaling handpiece also cause aversive emotions. This study was indicated by observed stimulation of the auditory cortex as well as the amygdala, indicating that noise from the ultrasonic scaling handpiece was perceived as an aversive auditory stimulus by the subjects. Subjects can experience unpleasant sensations caused by the sounds from the ultrasonic scaling handpiece based on their auditory stimuli.


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