Have you avoided the dentist for so long, you can’t remember your last visit? Or worse, you have terrible memories of it? Many people struggle with dental anxiety, which can lead to a lack of proper preventive care, that often results in dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss. For years, though, the most common solution was sedation dentistry. But this too can make some people uneasy. Others have medical or personal reasons for avoiding sedatives, so what’s an anxious patient to do? Well, recent studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can be an effective and natural way of combatting dental fear, so that patients can finally receive the oral care they need, to maintain lovely and healthy smiles throughout their lives.
Could Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work for You?
While sedation has often been used to help patients with dental anxiety receive treatment, it is not a long-term option, since its effects are limited. Therapy, on the other hand, can help patients move past their dental fear, so they can begin seeking regular preventive care, and restorative treatment as needed.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in particular, has been proven effective at helping patients manage many forms of anxiety disorders, including depression. This therapeutic approach focuses on making behavioral changes that can improve a person’s quality of life, by helping them push through their fear.
In fact, in a study recently conducted by King’s College in London, nearly 80 percent of the patients with dental anxiety that underwent CBT were able to receive dental treatment without the need for sedation, and another 6 were able to receive treatment with sedation. The average number of visits required for CBT to be effective was only five, too, making CBT a fast, yet lasting approach to coping with dental anxiety.