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What is the Most Effective Treatment for the Management of Dental Anxiety among Adults? A Systematic Review of Interventions

Oyedayo, Mary Oyekunle, Fulton, John and Hayes, Catherine (2016) What is the Most Effective Treatment for the Management of Dental Anxiety among Adults? A Systematic Review of Interventions. Journal of Community and Public Health Nursing, 2 (4). ISSN 2471-9846

Item Type: Article


This review aimed to find the most effective intervention for the management of dental anxiety among adults by way of a systematic review of Randomised controlled trials. Compared to European and US counterparts, the number of studies concerning the management of dental anxiety in the United Kingdom is limited. Several interventions have been reported with varying modes of action and duration. Two main groups of interventions: pharmacological and psychological/behavioural have been implemented. The pharmacological interventions employ the use of centrally acting sedatives whereas the psychological/behavioural interventions serve to change the behavioural and learning effects of dental anxiety. A third group operationally defined as “Complementary” for the purpose of this review consists of holistic therapies such as acupuncture, music distraction and aromatherapy for in the management of dental anxiety. Although reduction of dental anxiety before and after dental treatment has been recorded historically in the majority of trials, these have mainly investigated psychological/behavioural interventions. Exploring more recent trials, this study uncovers the benefits of complementary interventions for managing dental anxiety in adults and computer based variants of psychological/behavioural interventions. None compared the efficacy of one type or group against the other. Also, outcomes such as avoidance of dental treatment and economic implication of interventions were scarcely evaluated thus evidence on this remains inconclusive. The need for further investigation of these outcomes as well as those in Complementary Therapies is justified.

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Depositing User: Catherine Hayes


Item ID: 6852
Identification Number:
ISSN: 2471-9846
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Catherine Hayes: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2016 11:10
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2020 11:17


Author: John Fulton ORCID iD
Author: Catherine Hayes ORCID iD
Author: Mary Oyekunle Oyedayo

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Sciences > Health Sciences

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