Dental anxiety is extremely common for people of all ages. And while it may not sound like a serious situation, it is actually quite serious for people suffering from it. Many are so overcome with anxiety that they avoid going to the dentist at all. Fortunately, recent studies show that a new form of treatment can be very effective in helping people suffering from dental anxiety. Talk therapy, also referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is a treatment that usually involves only 6 to 10 sessions with a therapist.
During CBT sessions, patients are encouraged to replace negative thoughts with more uplifting ones as a means of conquering their fears. The patients were also taught different techniques to control their negative thinking, along with relaxation methods. Distraction – such as music and story-telling — was also part of the therapy, providing patients with other things to focus on aside from their anxiety.
In a study conducted in Great Britain, researchers evaluated 130 women and men, all of whom were around 40 years of age. About 75% of the participants were experiencing severe dental phobia, while others were bothered by only certain dental procedures. After the patients went through the CBT sessions, 79% of them were able to go to the dentist without sedation. The British Dental Journal published the findings from this study.While 79% may not sound like an impressive number, it’s impressive given the depth of fear that many of the patients were experiencing. Many would simply not go to the dentist all – risking the oral health problems that were inevitable from that decision – rather than face their phobia.
For many patients, talk therapy is a much more appealing means of dealing with their fear rather than the alternative of taking drugs or being sedated. While more studies need to be done on this new technique. It holds much promise for the future.
If you suffer from fear of having dental work done, talk to your Cedar Park dentist openly about your anxiety. He or she may be able to help. It’s much, much better to address this type of fear rather than simply avoiding going to the dentist. The tooth and gum problems that can result in not seeing your dentist on a regular basis can negatively impact not only your oral health; it can also make you more susceptible to other more severe health problems.
Call today to schedule your dental appointment at Cedar Park Premier Dentistry! (512) 782-0821