By Susan Braden
Acupuncture can help decrease anxiety before and during an oral exam or procedure, one study finds. This process, along with cheap dental plans designed to reduce the cost of the whole procedure, could help ease the stress of going to the dentist.
The study, led by members of the British Dental Acupuncture Society, found that one in every 20 patients experiences odontophobia, which is defined as extreme fear or anxiousness regarding oral health work. One-third of patients experience at least moderate anxiety at a dentistry provider.
Dentists traditionally employ expensive and time-consuming treatments like behavioral therapy, sedatives, relaxation techniques and even hypnosis. Inexpensive visits are rare with the added time and expense of sedatives, so cheap plans could help minimize the cost.
Many people who suffer from odontophobia simply avoid the dentist at all costs, resulting in severe oral health problems like gum disease and tooth loss. Problems like these usually require more invasive treatment than the original problem.
Patients in the study received five minutes of acupuncture treatment to two specific points on their heads. The scores used to measure stress and anxiety levels dropped 15 percentage points after treatment. All of the patients were able to undergo oral procedures following the study as well, whereas only a few could undergo procedures before acupuncture treatment.
For someone with odontophobia, a trip to the dentist is frightening enough without the added stress of high payments without cheap plans. Experts interested in the new study believe this method could save patients a lot of time and money by eliminating the need for expensive treatments and therapies before every procedure, whether it is a simple cleaning or a full mouth reconstruction. If patients are aware of the problem, they should explore their options and find what works for them.
Regardless of what method a patient employs to relax and make the procedure more bearable, cheap dental plans could help reduce the financial strain, leaving the patient to focus on overcoming his or her anxiety.