Acupunct Med 28:3-5 doi:10.1136/aim.2009.001933
  • Original paper

Acupuncture in the management of anxiety related to dental treatment: a case series

Press Release
  1. Anne Marie Lynge Pedersen4
  1. 1Department of Oncology, Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Amager Tandplejecenter, Tårnby Torv 9, 2770 Kastrup, Denmark
  3. 3Dental Department, Isebrook Hospital, Northamptonshire, UK
  4. 4Department of Oral Medicine, Clinical Oral Physiology, Oral Pathology & Anatomy, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen N, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Palle Rosted, Böshult 4377, S-28593 Markaryd, Sweden; prosted{at}
  1. Contributors PR participated in the concept and design of the study, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data as well as in drafting the manuscript. MB participated in the concept and design of the study and in drafting the manuscript. SG took part in the design of the study and in drafting and revising the manuscript. AMLP participated in the analysis and interpretation of data, the statistical analysis and in drafting and revising the manuscript. All four authors read and approved the final manuscript. This study is the first of its kind.

  • Accepted 10 January 2010


Background Anxiety related to dental treatment is a common phenomenon that has a significant impact on the provision of appropriate dental care. The aim of this case series was to examine the effect of acupuncture given prior to dental treatment on the level of anxiety.

Methods Eight dentists submitted 21 case reports regarding the treatment of dental anxiety. The level of anxiety was assessed by the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Only patients with moderate to severe anxiety (BAI score ≥16) were included. The remaining 20 patients, 16 women and 4 men, with a mean age of 40.3 years, had a median BAI score of 26.5 at baseline. The BAI score was assessed before and after the acupuncture treatment. All patients received acupuncture treatment for 5 min prior to the planned dental treatment using the points GV20 and EX6.

Results There was a significant reduction in median value of BAI scores after treatment with acupuncture (26.5 reduced to 11.5; p<0.01), and it was possible to carry out the planned dental treatment in all 20 cases after acupuncture treatment. Previously this had only been possible in six cases.

Conclusion Acupuncture prior to dental treatment has a beneficial effect on the level of anxiety in patients with dental anxiety and may offer a simple and inexpensive method of treatment. However, the present results need to be tested in a larger randomised clinical trial in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatment in patients with dental anxiety.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The local ethics committee in Sheffield determined by telephone that ethics approval was unnecessary as it was an observational study only.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.