Efficacy of a trauma-focused treatment approach for dental phobia: a randomized clinical trial

S. Doering, M.C. Ohlmeier, A. de Jongh, A. Hofmann, V. Bisping

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

It has been hypothesized that treatment specifically focused on resolving memories of negative dental events might be efficacious for the alleviation of anxiety in patients with dental phobia. Thirty-one medication-free patients who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) criteria of dental phobia were randomly assigned to either Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or a waitlist control condition. Dental anxiety was assessed using the Dental Anxiety Questionnaire (DAS), the Dental Fear Survey (DFS), a behavior test, and dental attendance at 1-yr of follow up. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing was associated with significant reductions of dental anxiety and avoidance behavior as well as in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The effect sizes for the primary outcome measures were d = 2.52 (DAS) and d = 1.87 (DFS). These effects were still significant 3 months (d = 3.28 and d = 2.28, respectively) and 12 months (d = 3.75 and d = 1.79, respectively) after treatment. After 1 yr, 83.3% of the patients were in regular dental treatment (d = 3.20). The findings suggest that therapy aimed at processing memories of past dental events can be helpful for patients with dental phobia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-593
JournalEuropean Journal of Oral Sciences
Volume121
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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