A joint approach to treating dental phobia: a re-evaluation of a collaboration between community dental services and specialist psychotherapy services ten years on

British Dental Journal 211, 159 - 162 (2011)
Published online: 26 August 2011 | doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2011.674
Objective To audit the records of a group of patients who had previously benefited from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for dental phobia.
Aim To ascertain if they had returned to the use of intravenous (IV) sedation to facilitate dental treatment. Ten years ago these patients were routinely requiring IV sedation to facilitate dental treatment due to severe dental phobia.
Method Sixty patients entered the original pilot project. Of those, 30 were offered CBT and 21 attended. Twenty of those patients (95.2%) were subsequently able to have dental treatment without IV sedation. In this follow-up study the electronic records of 19 of the 20 patients who had originally been successful with CBT were re-audited. Our purpose was to see if there was any record of subsequent IV sedation administration in the intervening ten years.
Results Of the 19 successful CBT patients available to follow-up, 100% had not received IV sedation since the study ten years ago. This may suggest the initial benefit of CBT has endured over the ten-year period.
Conclusion This study indicates that the use of CBT for patients with dental phobia proves beneficial not only in the initial treatment but that the benefits may endure over time. This results in a significant reduction in health risks to the patient from repeated IV sedation. It may also translate into significant financial savings for dental care providers. Our evidence for CBT as treatment for dental phobia suggests dental services should be implementing this approach now rather than pursuing further research.


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