Acupuncture may well be the new cure for patients who are scared of going to the dentist. A new study carried out by experts at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria has revealed significant evidence that traditional Chinese medicine could help to relax nervous patients prior to dental treatment.
"The aim of the study was to analyse whether acupuncture in the outer ear could reduce fear of dental treatment," wrote Andrea Michalek-Sauberer and her co-author from the clinical department for special anaesthetic and pain therapy at the AKH (Allgemeines Krankenhaus) in Vienna.
The research was carried out on 182 randomly selected patients whose fear of the dentist was measured before the therapy with a psychological test created by the experts. The patients then underwent either acupuncture carried out on the specific parts of the outer ear which help to calm and relax, fake acupuncture on fingers or shoulders or no therapy at all. The psychological test was then repeated 20 minutes later just before the dental treatment itself.
The results of the test revealed that those who received some form of therapy before dental treatment were significantly less anxious than those who did not. The patients who received the real acupuncture in the outer ear scored 7.9 points less on the scale of the chosen psychological test than the group who received no treatment. The group who received the fake acupuncture scored only 3.7 points less.
"Aurikular (outer ear) acupuncture could be an option for dental patients, who suffer from severe fear and want urgent therapy," concluded the author of the report.