Cognitive behaviour therapy to deal with dental phobia

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Dental Anxiety? Scared of going to the dentist? We can help.

If you struggle with going to the dentist you’re not alone. According to a British study 24% of people reported always feeling nervous about going to the dentist. At Shelley Manor Dental we are used to welcoming nervous patients and we take the time to talk and listen to them and make them feel relaxed.

However if you feel your anxiety is particularly strong, we can also recommend a programme of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) with Debbie Mathew here at Shelley Manor, www.bournemouthcognitivetherapy.co.uk.

CBT is the treatment of choice for specific phobias, of which dental phobia is one.  CBT seeks to understand the origins of an individual’s dental phobia and assist patients in understanding and facing their fears around going to the dentist.  It does this using graded exposure to face fears and guide this discovery to explore underlying beliefs that patients might have about treatment.  CBT helps patients to normalise the physical symptoms of anxiety and understand how they often exacerbate the problem.

Those with dental phobia tend to avoid the dentist extensively to such a degree that they often ironically leave small problems until they result in a dental emergency and require more intensive intervention.  CBT will help patients understand this vicious cycle and then break it by facing and challenging their fears in collaboration with their therapist and dentist.

An initial assessment session would normally last about an hour and involves understanding the patient’s history of the development of their dental phobia.  The cost of this is £75.00.  Further treatment sessions last around 45 minutes and will involve setting goals, assisting patients to face their fears using graded exposure to the dental suite environment and dental procedures, as well as psychological education about how fears are developed and maintained and how our thoughts can influence this.

For some patients the use of relaxation techniques, mindfulness and learning to switch their attention may also be incorporated into the programme. Clients may benefit from between one and six sessions depending on severity at their assessment, and for Shelley Manor Dental’s patients these sessions would be at a reduced cost if purchased in a package with treatment.

For further information call 01202 443882.