Routine visits to the dentist can help prevent avoidable health problems, such as tooth decay, infection and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, approximately one in 20 people suffer from severe anxiety regarding dental procedures and often postpone visits to their provider.
However, a recent study has found that the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture may be capable of treating patients with dental anxiety, also known as odontophobia.
"We can offer patients a safe, fast and cheap treatment for their odontophobia," said lead researcher Palle Rosted, from the department of oncology at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, England, quoted by Health Day News. "By offering acupuncture, the dentist has an extra tool in his bag."
In the study, Rosted and his colleagues tested acupuncture on 20 patients who had been suffering from moderate to severe odontophobia for a number of years. Each patient’s anxiety level was checked before and after treatment using the established Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) questionnaire.
The research team found that the average BAI score fell from 26.5 to 11.5 after five minutes of acupuncture. Moreover, all patients were able to complete their visit to the dentist after being treated by a licensed acupuncturist.