Efficacy of Hypnosis on Dental Anxiety and Phobia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Wolf, Thomas Gerhard; Schläppi, Sina; Benz, Carla Irene; Campus, Guglielmo (2022). Efficacy of Hypnosis on Dental Anxiety and Phobia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Brain Sciences, 12(5), p. 521. MDPI 10.3390/brainsci12050521

brainsci-12-00521.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (671kB) | Preview

Hypnosis is a commonly used therapy option in dentistry and medicine for fear and pain reduction. Nevertheless, it is viewed very critically, as there is still insufficient evidence for a treatment effect. Specific phobia of dental treatment and dental anxiety are prevalent conditions that can cause an oral health impairment. This paper critically reviews 19 clinical trials aimed at reducing dental anxiety and fear avoidance in adults, published in peer-reviewed journals between 1979 and 2021. The search identified 257 papers; 223 were selected after removing duplicates. A total of 188 articles were excluded after title and abstract evaluation; 35 full text articles were assessed for eligibility. Another 10 papers were discharged after full text evaluation, as these were case reports and questionnaires. Six papers were discharged due to the lack of a comparable scale to measure dental anxiety. The following treatment techniques were reviewed: various forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation training, benzodiazepine premedication, self-hypnosis by audio therapy, hypnotherapy, hypnosis, and nitrous oxide sedation. CBT delivered in a variety of formats, including one-session treatment, showed the most evidence for the efficacy of reducing anxiety. A wide heterogeneity of methods allowed only the inclusion of five studies to the performed meta-analysis, showing contrasting results for the application of hypnosis. The main reason for this issue is the great variety in methods used, making a distinct assessment of hypnotic interventions difficult. However, the results of the systematic review are promising in that hypnosis can also be regarded as powerful and successful method for anxiety reduction, while there are also studies with a small or even slightly negative effect. Therefore, further research is needed. Within the limitations of the current study, a more consistent use of methods to examine anxiety for hypnosis research is recommended.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Preventive, Restorative and Pediatric Dentistry
04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Restorative Dentistry, Research

UniBE Contributor:

Wolf, Thomas Gerhard and Campus, Guglielmo Giuseppe


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Thomas Gerhard Wolf

Date Deposited:

27 Apr 2022 09:11

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:19

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

dental anxiety; fear; dental phobia; effect; hypnosis; hypnotherapy





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback