Getting Over Dental Phobia

Published:December 2nd, 2011

We all have dreadful stories to tell about an experience we had at the dentist, which can create a sense of apprehension about visiting the dentist’s office in the future. But sometimes those fears can be blown out of proportion to develop into phobias.

Fortunately, there is a solution to getting over such worries through a technique known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach towards solving problems related to dysfunctional emotions, cognitions and behaviors, via a goal oriented systematic process. There is a lot of empirical evidence to show the effectiveness of CBT at treating psychological problems like dental phobia.

The problem with dental phobia is that it will deter victims from seeking dental health assistance, unless the pain is overbearing. At this stage, a lot of work has to be done to correct the damage than would have been required if they had visited the dentist early enough. This cycle of behavior is also likely to be passed on to the children of those people suffering from dental phobia, who may also end up perpetuating the same behavior and thus developing similar oral health problems. CBT is one of the most effective methods to help patients overcome their fear and feel comfortable about their experience at the dentist office without the need for intravenous sedation.

To back this claim, a study was done over 10 years ago, on 60 dental patients who relied heavily on sedation before any dental treatment could be carried out. CBT was offered to half of the group, of which only 21 patients accepted the treatment. Out of the 21 who accepted treatment, 20 of them later went on to have dental work done without the need for sedation. A review was done, 10 years later, to determine the effectiveness of the treatment in the long-term. The review found that out of the 20 original patients, 19 have never received intravenous sedation during a dental procedure for the past decade.

CBT trained dentists are highly-skilled and caring professionals, who are given the proper training on how to put patients at ease. Many of them also go through additional training such as acupuncture and hypnosis.

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