Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help Treat Patients With Dental Phobia

By September 5, 2011 No Comments

According to a study published in the latest issue of the British Dental Journal (BDJ), a single session of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) could help individuals who suffer from severe dental phobia to overcome their anxieties. …The authors of “A joint approach to treating dental phobia: A re-evaluation of a collaboration between community dental services and specialist psychotherapy services ten years on”, conclude that the benefits of CBT for patients with severe dental phobia appear to last over time.

According to the latest 10-year survey on adult dental health, published earlier in 2011 by the NHS Information Center, as many as 12% of individuals may encounter extreme dental anxiety.

Professor Damien Walmsley, the BDA’s scientific adviser, explained:

“Dental phobia is a serious problem because it deters some people from ever going to the dentist, except when they are in severe pain. At this stage, they may require more invasive treatment than might be the case if they went to the dentist regularly. Sadly, this cycle of anxiety, non-attendance and pain is often repeated in the children of those with dental phobia, perpetuating the problem and feeding another generation of oral health problems.

CBT is one of a range of techniques than can be used to make the experience comfortable for patients who feel especially anxious about having dental treatment, and the results of this study look promising for those who experience severe dental phobia.

All dentists are highly-skilled, caring health professionals who are trained to put patients at ease. Many also undertake additional training in techniques, such as hypnosis, acupuncture, and of course, CBT.”

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