For some people, fear of the dentist can be debilitating enough to prevent them from seeking the routine or even emergency care they need. As a result, these people are often in poorer oral health, as their lack of treatment snowballs into larger issues.
Now there may be a new answer. Used for years to treat depression, phobias and anxiety disorders of various kinds, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is gaining popularity in treating dental anxiety. CBT is generally a short-term therapy, lasting between 6 and 10 sessions.
A recent study in the British Dental Journal has shown that CBT can be a great tool in combatting dental anxiety. 130 patients were initially surveyedout of which ¾ were determined to have a true dental phobia, as defined by the Modified Dental Anxiety Scale (MDAS).
After all dental phobic patients completed their courses of CBT, 79% were able to have dental treatment without sedation, while 6% were able to complete treatment with sedation. The average number of therapy sessions required before receiving dental care was five.
This is big news for anyone with a crippling fear of the dentist. While overcoming your phobia may seem hopeless, there are treatment options that can change the way you view the dentist’s office. The earlier you overcome the fear, the healthier your teeth will be.