Many dental patients, many who need dental care the most, suffer from crippling dental anxiety. The anxiety can stem from any number of bad experiences related to the dentist and can be compounded when people’s fears keep them away from the dentist for years, exasperating their dental issues. There’s a number of ways one can alleviate dental anxiety, including sedation dentistry. One natural, and drug-free solution, could be acupuncture.
A recent study conducted by researchers in Sweden, Denmark, and the UK found that acupuncture may have a positive impact on dental anxiety. The twenty-person study included 4 males and 16 females in their forties. All of the participants had experienced dental anxiety for at least two years. The participants were given quick, five-minute acupuncture treatment, focusing on two points on the top of the head, directly prior to receiving dental treatment. The patient’s anxiety levels were measured before and after the acupuncture treatment, and the results showed promise for this easy, natural, and effective treatment.
Of the twenty people involved in the study, prior to acupuncture treatment, only six of them were actually able to receive dental treatment. Those six were only able to receive it under much duress. After receiving the acupuncture treatment, every single participant was able to receive dental treatment.
The anxiety score of these patients was reduced dramatically as well. Before the acupuncture treatment, the patients had an anxiety score of 26.5. After the treatment had been received, the score dropped by over half, to 11.5. It seems that acupuncture is very useful in reducing dental anxiety, and allowing dentists to do their work without the huge hurdle of an overly anxious patient.
Obviously, a twenty-person study is far from conclusive. In order to gather more conclusive evidence regarding acupunctures use in reducing dental anxiety, larger studies must be conducted. Hopefully, this small study will encourage scientists to conduct larger studies in the long run. The more affordable, quick, and easy remedies we have for dental anxiety, the more people who need dental care will get it.