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Dental Anxiety: Is CBT an alternative to sedation or general anaesthetic?

The incidence of moderate and severe dental anxiety in Europe, Asia and North America are 40% and 20% respectively, with 5% of people suffering fear levels sufficiently high to be classed as phobia (1). People who are dentally fearful tend to avoid treatment and are much more likely to attend the dentist when prompted by pain (2). Their avoidance removes opportunities for learning, as does the dental profession’s emphasis on the use of sedation or general anaesthetic with fearful patients. Patients simply do not learn that the catastrophe they fear (such as being unable to tolerate pain, losing control, or collapsing with fear) does not occur in the dental office.

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For children and adolescents, psychological harm of traumatic events reduced by CBT

In a review in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, it was noted that children and adolescents who experience psychological harm caused by traumatic events are often treated by practitioners who are not aware of, and do not employ, treatments that are "based on the best available evidence." Meta-analyses were conducted on interventions that included cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in individual and group settings, play therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and others.…
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