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CBT Can Lessen Kids' Dental Anxiety

CBT Can Lessen Kids’ Dental Anxiety

As many parents can attest, it is not uncommon for a child to experience significant anxiety when they go to the dentist. Sadly, the anxiety may influence pediatric dental care with the effects continuing through adulthood. New research suggests cognitive-behavioral therapy may provide a non-pharmaceutical solution to the conundrum.

In the study, U.K. researchers describe the development of a guided self-help cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) resource for the management of children’s dental anxiety.

Investigators believe the pilot intervention provides evidence for the feasibility and acceptability of this approach with children aged between nine and 16 years.

CBT is an evidence-based treatment for dental anxiety; however, access to therapy is limited. This study employed a mixed methods design where within phase one, a qualitative “person-based” approach informed the development of the self-help CBT resource.

Guidelines for the development and evaluation of complex interventions were also used. Within phase two, children aged between nine and 16 years who had elevated self-reported dental anxiety and were attending a community dental service or dental hospital were invited to use the CBT resource.

Children completed questionnaires, which assessed their dental anxiety and health-related quality of life prior to and following their use of the resource. Recruitment and completion rates were also recorded.

Acceptability of the CBT resource was explored using interviews and focus groups with children, parents/caregivers and dental professionals. A total of 85 children were invited to participate in the feasibility study and trial the CBT resource.

The recruitment rate (proportion of children invited to take part in the study who agreed to participate) and completion rate (proportion of children who agreed to participate who completed the study) was 66 percent and 86 percent, respectively. A total of 48 patients completed the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the authors ascertained that there was a significant reduction in dental anxiety and an increase in health-related quality of life following the use of the guided self-help cognitive behavioral therapy resource.

The results of this study will inform the design of a definitive trial to examine the treatment and cost-effectiveness of the resource for the reduction of children’s dental anxiety.

The study appears in the OnlineFirst portion of JDR Clinical & Translational Research.

Source: International Association for Dental Research

CBT Can Lessen Kids’ Dental Anxiety

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). CBT Can Lessen Kids’ Dental Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/11/02/cbt-can-lessen-kids-dental-anxiety/111985.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 2 Nov 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Nov 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.