05/07/2010 - Articles

Acupuncture calms dental anxiety

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Around one person in 20 suffers from severe dental anxiety, or odontophobia, which may mean that they put off or avoid regular dental checks and treatment. And up to one third of patients report some degree of dental anxiety. While relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy and biofeedback may help, these may be time-consuming and dependent upon available skills in the dentist’s surgery. A new study from researchers in Sweden, Denmark and the UK, now suggests that acupuncture is highly effective in treating dental anxiety.

A group of 20 patients (four men, 16 women) in their 40s took part in the study; all had been trying to deal with dental anxiety for between two and 30 years. Their anxiety levels were measured by a standard questionnaire before and after a five minute acupuncture session. The dentist treated two acupuncture points on the top of the head.

Anxiety scores fell from 26.5 to 11.5 and such was the relief from dental anxiety that all patients could undergo their planned treatment which, previously, had only been possible for six of them (and then only with a great deal of stress and effort). This was just a small study which should be confirmed in a larger group of patients. Nevertheless, these findings show that acupuncture could be a simple and inexpensive form of treatment for dental anxiety.

 

Source:

Rosted P et al Acupuncture in the management of anxiety related to dental treatment: a case series Acupuncture in Medicine March 2010;28:3-5

 

Created on: 05/07/2010
Reviewed on: 05/07/2010

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