CBT STress Anxiety

Remember the film 'Marathon Man'?  A young Dustin Hoffman sat white-knuckled as Laurence Olivier systematically drilled each of his teeth down to the nerve.  It seems you don't have to have seen the film to suffer from fear of the dentist or 'odontophobia' to give it the correct medical term.   Surveys show that between  5-10% of people suffer from odontophobia, which is on a par with acrophobia (fear of heights) but is way below arachnophobia (fear of spiders). Females are more likely to fear the dentist than males and the most common reasons given for the fear are injections, choking, having a stranger touch them, and drilling.  A paper published in the Society for the Advancement of Anaesthesia Digest has opened up the discussion that  Cognitive Behavioral therapy be included into clinical practice for pain and anxiety control. The paper states that despite recent advances in dental techniques and willingness to provide sedation medication there has been no reduction in dental anxiety in patients.  CBT is a non invasive therapy that could decrease the need for needles and drugs and therefore eliminate two of the factors that can contribute to or even cause  anxiety in patients. The paper also suggests that dentists undergo CBT training in order to offer the therapy within their practice.  Hopefully this will pave the way for trials of other therapies for dental anxiety such as aromatherapy, acupuncture and meditation techniques...

CBT for stress and anxiety (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

Robinson E. Introducing an alternative drug-free technique for pain and anxiety control into a clinical environment cognitive behavioural therapy: a discussionon implementation into dental practice.  SAAD Dig. Jan 2014.

 

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