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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children with Dental Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
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2016 (English)In: JDR Clinical & Translational Research, ISSN 2380-0844, Vol. 1, no 3, 234-243 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dental anxiety affects approximately 9% of children and is associated with poor oral health, pain, and psychosocial problems. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children with dental anxiety in specialist pediatric dentistry. The study used a parallel-group superiority randomized controlled trial design. The primary outcome measure was the behavioral avoidance test; assessors were blind to treatment allocation. Participants were 8 boys and 22 girls 7 to 18 y old (mean ± SD, 10 ± 3.1). Children fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for dental anxiety were randomized to CBT (n = 13) or treatment as usual (n = 17), such as various sedation methods. Psychologists provided 10 h of CBT based on a treatment manual. Treatments were conducted in a naturalistic real-world clinical setting. Assessments were conducted before the treatment, 3 mo after the start of treatment, and at 1-y follow-up. The analyses of the primary outcome measure by repeated-measures analysis of variance and independent t test showed that children receiving CBT made superior, statistically significant improvements at follow-up (16.8 ± 2.4) compared with treatment as usual (11.4 ± 3.1, P < 0.01). A large between-group effect size (Cohen’s d = 1.9) was found. Following treatment, 73% of those in the CBT group managed all stages of the dental procedures included in the behavioral avoidance test compared with 13% in the treatment-as-usual group. Furthermore, 91% in the CBT group compared with 25% in the treatment-as-usual group no longer met the diagnostic criteria for dental anxiety at the 1-y follow-up according to the secondary outcome measure. Measures of dental anxiety and self-efficacy showed larger improvements in the CBT group compared with controls. We conclude that CBT is an efficacious treatment for children and adolescents with dental anxiety and should be made accessible in pediatric dentistry ( NCT01798355).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2016. Vol. 1, no 3, 234-243 p.
Keyword [en]
pediatric dentistry, clinical psychology, self-efficacy, evidence-based dentistry, dental fear, behavioral problem
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134625DOI: 10.1177/2380084416661473OAI: diva2:1034693
Available from: 2016-10-12 Created: 2016-10-12 Last updated: 2016-10-12

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