People terrified of visiting the dentist can overcome their fear with acupuncture, researchers have claimed.
The findings, in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, may some offer comfort to the one in five of us thought to have dental phobia. Five minutes of treatment with needles placed at two specific acupuncture points on the top of the head allowed all 20 patients to conquer their fear. The experts said bigger trials are now warranted.
Dr Palle Rosted, who led the research carried out by eight UK dentists, said the findings were extremely promising.
"Although it's a small number of patients that we've looked at, all of the patients benefited.
"These were patients who would have previously run screaming out of the door or would had to have been held down by a dental assistant to have their teeth checked."
All of the patients were in their 40s and had been suffering from dental phobia for between two and 30 years. Many had, unsuccessfully, tried other ways to conquer their fears, including hypnosis and relaxation techniques.