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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: QI
Quintessence International

Edited by Eli Eliav

ISSN 0033-6572 (print) • ISSN 1936-7163 (online)

November/December 2007
Volume 38 , Issue 10

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Clinical outcome of a short-term psychotherapeutic intervention for the treatment of dental phobia

Peter Jöhren, DDS, MS/Norbert Enkling, Dr Med Dent, MS/Richard Heinen, MS/Gudrun Sartory, MS, PhD

PMID: 18197318

Objective: Anxiety before receiving dental treatment is widespread. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of a brief psychologic treatment on adherence to the dental treatment regimen in patients with dental phobia. Method and Materials: Dental phobic patients (n = 160) received 3 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy that consisted of stress management training and exposure to phobic stimuli. The outcome was determined in terms of 3 subsequent dental visits. Results: Participating patients had not visited a dental clinician for an average of 6 years. Comparison of patients who completed the psychologic treatment with those who dropped out showed that 68% of the former but also 52% of the latter adhered to the subsequent dental treatment regimen. The number of psychologic treatment sessions correlated significantly and positively with anxiety level before treatment. Conclusion: Short-term psychologic therapy of 3 sessions results in a success rate of 70% to adherence to dental treatment among dental phobic patients. Duration of avoidance of anxiety before treatment was not related to success in completing the trial. Nevertheless, the more intense the patient’s phobia, the more psychotherapeutic sessions were necessary. (Quintessence Int 2007;38;882)

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