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March 28, 2011
A recent study conducted in Germany added to a growing body of research that supports the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for dental phobia. This study compared four different groups of patients, grappling with dental phobia, including groups with: 1) CBT treatment; 2) individualized hypnosis, administered by a trained dentist; 3) standard hypnosis, induced by listening to a CD; and 4) general anesthesia. Unlike previous literature on the subject of dental phobia, observations in this study were taken before and after initial treatment, and during preparation for a second treatment. The CBT intervention, consisting of two sessions, included psychoeducation, practicing relaxation techniques, as well as identifying dysfunctional thoughts and replacing them with adaptive thoughts. Measures were taken to rate overall anxiety, dental anxiety, cognition related to dental work, feeling of control related to dental work, state-trait, and subjective rating of treatment effectiveness. Their findings showed CBT was the most effective treatment in terms of acceptability and effectiveness. The authors noted one of the study's limitations was that it was not a randomized control trial. The authors also noted that since CBT was administered before the patient entered the dental chair, and hypnosis did not begin till after this anxiety inducing event had already occurred, it may have had an effect on the results, and should be investigated.

Wannemueller, A., Joehren, P., Haug, S., Hatting, M., Elsesser, K., & Sartory, G. (2011). A practice-based comparison of brief cognitive behavioral treatment, two kinds of hypnosis and general anesthesia in deal phobia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 80:159-165. doi:10.1159/000320977