When sixty-two patients were randomly assigned to nitrous oxide sedation (NO), cognitive therapy (CT), or applied relaxation (AR) therapy, to help them reduce their fear of dental procedures, highly significant reductions in fear and general distress were found in all three groups. Patients in the applied relaxation group showed the greatest benefit and the most dramatic reduction on dental fear measures. One year later a majority (95%) of the participants had undergone dental treatment, and on the whole, showed continued favorable effects. Every subject judged the dental fear treatment to have been beneficial, and 80% reported the treatment successful. All three treatment groups scored in the normative range for general distress both at the end of treatment and at one year follow-up.

Citation: Willumsen T, Vassend O, Hoffart A. One-year follow-up of patients treated for dental fear: effects of cognitive therapy, applied relaxation, and nitrous oxide sedation. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica. 2001 Dec; 59(6): 335-40.