Someone very close to me is absolutely terrified of going to the dentist, so my interest was piqued when I saw a report about a German study on the varying effectiveness of treatments for dental anxiety. The study concluded that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective in treating dental phobia than standardized hypnosis or general anesthesia. Because hypnosis is not a widely accepted practice, the researchers concluded that CBT was the best choice overall for people who fear the dentist’s chair.
According to the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists, CBT is “a very general term for a classification of therapies with similarities. There are several approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy… [which is] based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel/act better even if the situation does not change.” Previous research and practice have shown that CBT can help with anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, and addiction.
So if you’re one of those unlucky dentophobics out there–you may want to skip the nitris and call a therapist instead.