Acupuncture May Help Relieve Dental Anxiety

Five-minute treatment before dental procedure significantly reduces baseline anxiety scores
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with anxiety related to dental treatment, acupuncture may be an effective management strategy, according to research published in the March issue of Acupuncture in Medicine.

Palle Rosted, M.D., of Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, U.K., and colleagues analyzed case reports submitted by eight dentists on 21 patients who received a five-minute acupuncture treatment prior to the planned dental treatment. The study sample included 20 patients (mean age, 40.3 years) who had moderate to severe dental anxiety, which was defined as a score of at least 16 on the Beck Anxiety Inventory.

The researchers found that acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction in the median baseline Beck Anxiety Inventory score (from 26.5 to 11.5) and that all 20 patients with moderate to severe dental anxiety were able to undergo the planned dental treatment. Previously, only six had been able to undergo planned dental treatment.

"In the present case series we have shown that 60 percent of patients suffering from dental anxiety respond to treatment with acupuncture, based on the Beck Anxiety Inventory scale, and 100 percent of patients respond clinically," the authors conclude. "However, further research is needed, and in our opinion the subject seems suitable for a multi-centre study. The technique is easy to learn and inexpensive; however, recommendation should not be made until a controlled trial has been performed."

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