Dental Anxiety | Clinical Management of Anxiety and Access to Health Care

Dental Anxiety research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

Dental and health anxiety are common and potentially distressing problems, for both patients and health care providers. Anxiety has been identified as a barrier to regular dental visits and as an important target for enhancement of oral health-related quality of life. possible groups, (1) high dental anxiety and (2) low dental anxiety. The study aimed to develop and evaluate a computerized cognitive-behavioral therapy dental anxiety intervention (C-CBT) that could be easily implemented in dental healthcare settings. A cognitive-behavioral protocol based on psychoeducation, exposure to feared dental procedures, and cognitive restructuring was developed. A randomized controlled trial was conducted (N=151) to test its efficacy. Consenting adult dental patients who met inclusion (e.g., high dental anxiety) and exclusion criteria were randomized to one of two groups, (1) immediate treatment (IT) (n=74) or (2) a waitlist control (WL) (n=77).

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: - high dental anxiety - fluent in spoken and written English Exclusion Criteria: - unable to provide written, informed consent

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Dental Anxiety

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Behavioral:Computerized Dental Anxiety TreatmentThe Computerized Dental Anxiety Treatment Program consists of treatment modules that are be delivered through a computer. The modules use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to assist the participant in preparing a personal plan for managing his/her dental anxiety. The program incorporates a range of CBT techniques, including cognitive restructuring, exposure, and motivational interviewing.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

High Anxiety Computerized Dental Anxiety TreatmentComputer based CBT intervention before the scheduled dental appoinment (1.5 hours)

High Anxiety Wailist Control

Study Status


Start Date: July 2013

Completed Date: December 2014

Phase: N/A

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: Change in Modified Dental Anxiety Scale

Secondary Outcome: Change in Clinical Severity Rating for Specific Phobia Module of Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Marisol Tellez, Ph.D.

Lead Sponsor: Temple University

Collaborator: Pennsylvania Department of Health

More information:

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