Some discomfort with going to the dentist can be expected, but some patients experience so much fear that they cease going to the dentist entirely. A recent study published in the British Dental Journal found that a type of short-term therapy can effectively decrease overwhelming fears of dentistry.
Participants in the study confronted their fears of dentistry over the course of six to ten sessions with a psychologist. Tim Newton, a leading researcher on the project, explained that Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT), the form of therapy used, "works by providing individuals with skills to address their fear." Rather than forgoing dental treatment and avoiding the cause of their fear, patients "take gradual steps and challenge [their] thoughts." CBT can be helpful for patients experiencing anxiety, as well as other mental health challenges.
After taking part in the study, 79% of the participants were able to undergo dental treatment without the assistance of sedative drugs.