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Therapy Can Help Overcome Dental Anxiety

Therapy Can Help Overcome Dental Anxiety

As a family dentist in West Linn, our staff at Dugger Dentistry understands that not every patient enjoys visiting our West Linn dental office. A lot of patients understand the feelings of anxiety and fear that can precede a visit to the dentist, but new research suggests that talk therapy can help when a patient’s dental anxiety becomes a debilitating phobia.

In the study, researchers attempted an approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a short-term treatment that usually takes between six to 10 sessions to complete. CBT works by giving patients the skills necessary to deal with their phobias, explained researchers.

Following a session, which focused on replacing the negative thoughts associated with dental anxiety with positive ones, patients develop new skills that allow them to better tackle their anxiety.

The results of the study were published in the British Dental Journal.

Overcoming Dental Anxiety

As part of the study, researchers examined 130 men and women who all participated in therapy sessions led by a licensed psychologist. Roughly 75 percent of the study participants were so weary of visiting the dentist they suffered from full-fledged dental phobia; the other 25 percent experienced some level of anxiety related to dental care. Participants listed a fear of injections and needles as the most common cause of their anxiety.

Following the completion of the therapy sessions, 79 percent of the study participants successfully underwent treatment without the need for sedation. Another 6 percent were able to receive treatment, but required sedation. The remaining participants either dropped from therapy or were considered unsuitable to begin therapy due to other issues.

In early studies from the same team, researchers discovered that patients with dental anxiety were less likely to schedule dental appointments and were more likely to suffer from cavities and other oral health problems when compared to patients that visited the dentist more frequently. Researchers also noted that men were less likely to fear the dentist than women.

During their sessions, participants learned how to identify the thoughts that caused feelings of anxiety to develop and replace those thoughts with more helpful thoughts. They were also provided information that enabled them to better challenge those unhelpful thoughts. Additionally, participants learned coping techniques to deal with the anxiety they experience after arriving at the dental office, such as muscular relaxation and controlled breathing.

Working With Your Family Dentist In West Linn

For patients who suffer from dental anxiety, our staff at Dugger Dentistry is willing to work with you to make each visit to our West Linn dental office a pleasant and relaxing experience. Whether you require the aid of sedation or just need to thoroughly talk through all treatment options prior to receiving care, our experienced team of dental hygienists will work with you to feel relaxed and at ease during your appointment.

Your oral health plays an enormously important role in protecting not only the health of your teeth and gums, but your overall health as well. Don’t neglect receiving the quality oral health care you need due to the effects of dental anxiety.

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