Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A New Way To Treat Dental Anxiety


It’s quite common for people to be less than excited when visiting their dentist. For some, though, it can be even more of a challenge if they have some degree of dental anxiety. Children and adults with extreme cases of dental anxiety can easily lead to dental care avoidance and poor dental health because of this deliberating fear. Many dentists have noticed this trend come and go, and while sedatives have been primarily successful during treatments, newer approaches are needed to tackle the long-term consequences of dental anxiety in people today. Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be a solution that can help patients tackle their dental anxiety through methods that don’t depend on sedatives. 

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to treat many mental health conditions, including depression, eating disorders, and phobias. CBT has been recently studied within the last 20 years as a possible approach for relieving dental anxiety. In CBT, trained therapists can help patients by teaching them specific behavioral techniques to give them strategies for dealing with feelings of stress and anxiety. Using these methods, studies on these sessions have found that: 

  • Reduction in Dental Anxiety: While access to CBT is limited, those who have taken part in CBT sessions over a period of a few months have found that patients experienced less dental anxiety than they would have without CBT. 
  • Increase in Quality of Life: Those who have experienced fewer symptoms of dental anxiety due to their therapy sessions were also able to experience a better quality of life, as CBT can be used to tackle and treat other mental health conditions. 
  • Better Experiences in Practice: For patients with fewer symptoms of dental anxiety, the possibility of integrating cognitive-behavioral therapy into their dental treatment options can help improve their dental care and provide them with better access to healthier teeth and gums. 

With the possibilities of CBT, patients can not only experience better dental care but also experience a more integrated healthcare system that tackles their health needs more fluidly and potentially improve access to health resources that aren’t available in certain specialties, including dentistry. Dental anxiety should not be left alone, and it’s important to seek treatment for your dental anxiety as it can impact your oral health and mental health in negative ways. 

Seek Out Your Dentists For Your Dental Anxiety

While CBT isn’t an overnight cure for your dental anxiety, speaking with your dentist about your fears and your condition can help improve your oral health and care for your health concerns. Your dentist will provide you with the resources you need to receive dental treatment by either providing their services or referring you to a dentist or specialist that can help treat your oral health and your dental anxiety. For those looking into CBT, this sedative-free method may be able to help you relieve your dental anxiety and experience better health overall. 

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Dr. Jeannie Molato, DMD – Top Dentist in Bakersfield, CA

The art and science of dentistry has become my career’s passion. I can utilize my artistic passion and skill to give my patients smiles they have always dreamed of. I am also able to relieve my patients of their pain and discomfort, restore function to better their quality of life and educate the patients how to take care and maintain their oral health.