Mind and body in dentistry

Psychologists from King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ present their work at  an international dental research conference.Health psychology service

As part of King’s Health Partners, psychologists from King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust presented at the International Association for Dental Research Annual Conference in San Diego March 2017.

The team of six psychologists and one sociologist presented on a range of psychological aspects of dental practice, in particular focussing on the use of psychological theory to develop interventions to enhance patient experience and improve wellbeing.

King’s Health Partners are committed to joining up mental and physical healthcare, training and research through our mind and body programme to improve health outcomes for our patients and service users.

Dr Koula Asimakopoulou (Reader, King’s College London’s Dental Institute) spoke on the use of psychological theory to develop interventions to enhance oral health related behaviour through risk communication and enhancing volition.

Dr Jennifer Hare (Highly Specialised Health Psychologist, Guy’s and St Thomas’) spoke about interventions to help patients who are phobic about dental treatment, including recent innovations in virtual reality based exposure therapy.

Dr Lydia Rodney (Highly Specialised Clinical Psychologist, Guy’s and St Thomas’) reviewed approaches to the management of chronic oro-facial pain.

Dr Suzanne Scott (Senior Lecturer, King’s College London) spoke on theory based interventions to enhance early recognition of cancer, and encourage help seeking behaviour.

Finally, Drs Sasha Scambler (Senior Lecturer, King’s College London) and Heather Buchanan (University of Nottingham) explored the concept of Patient Centred Care and its practice in Dentistry.

In a separate session Tim Newton (Professor of Psychology as Applied to Dentistry, King’s College London) delivered the keynote lecture on "Psychology & Dentistry: A mutually beneficial partnership” concluding that the practice of dentistry can continue to benefit from the involvement of psychologists, and that dentistry and oral health provide unique and valuable opportunities for enhancing our knowledge and understanding of human psychology.

In September 2008 the Department of Sedation & Special Care Dentistry launched the King’s College London Dental Institute Health Psychology Service providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for individuals with dental phobia. The service comprises a network of six psychologists working across the Dental Institute in pursuit of the King’s Health Partner’s goals of excellence in teaching, clinical service delivery, and research. The service provides a range of services in support of dental and oral care including assessment, CBT for dental fear, CBT/ACT based interventions for individuals with oro-facial pain and screening for suitability in patients seeking orthognathic surgery.

The King’s College London Dental Institute is part of the King’s Health Partners Dental Clinical Academic Group.