- Charles Sturt lecturer from Orange wins international award for research into virtual reality exposure therapy in treatment of dental phobia
- Dr Kumar Raghav and his co-authors awarded the 2020 Giddon Award from the International Association of Dental Research
- Award win is well received by the researchers after completing the six-year research project
A Charles Sturt University lecturer from Orange has received a prestigious award from the International Association of Dental Research (IADR) for a research paper he co-wrote.
Dr Kumar Raghav (pictured), a Lecturer in Clinical Dentistry in School of Dentistry and Health Sciences and the lead author on the research paper, received, along with his co-authors, the 2020 Giddon Award for Distinguished Research in the Behavioral Sciences for their research into virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) in the treatment of dental phobia.
The IADR, which only confers the award on a single research investigation each year, informed Dr Raghav he and his co-authors were the recipients of the award late last month.
Dr Raghav, who completed the research project as part of his PhD with ACTA School of Dentistry in Amsterdam, said he and his co-authors are honoured to receive the award for their research.
“The award is a great honour because it is only given to one outstanding research team every year,” Dr Raghav said
“We are very grateful that the six years of hard work our research team put into our study has been recognised at a global level by the International Association of Dental Research.”
The study by the research team involved developing and testing a virtual reality technology-based intervention to treat dental anxiety and dental phobia.
“We conducted pioneering studies on adult dental patients with dental phobia to test the effectiveness of virtual reality exposure therapy,” Dr Raghav said.
“Dental phobia and high dental fear together form a significant barrier that prevents individuals from seeking regular dental care and adversely affects their quality of life.
“Generally patients with dental phobia undergo expensive dental treatment under general anaesthesia or conscious sedation, which does not help them to learn to overcome their dental fears.
“Patients with high levels of dental fear are also a great source of professional stress among dentists as they are difficult to treat and require more chair-side time for management.”
Dr Raghav said during the study, participants were exposed to range of common dental procedures such as dental drills and dental syringe in a controlled virtual environment using head mounted virtual reality goggles.
“We tested the effectiveness of VRET using a range of studies, as well as a randomised controlled trial in Malaysia,” he said.
“Through our research, we found VRET to be an effective treatment for dental phobia.
“This was particularly evident in our randomised controlled trial. At six months follow-up, we found 85 per cent of the patients who underwent VRET were treated of their dental phobia and 77 per cent of them came to the dentist and sought regular dental care.”
Professor Francesco E Marino, the Interim Head of the School of Dentistry and Health Science, congratulated Dr Kumar and his co-authors for the prestigious award win.
“This is exciting for both Dr Raghav and for Charles Sturt University,” Professor Marino said.
“To have one of our academics internationally recognised by an association which has more than 10,000 industry members is an outstanding achievement.
“Dr Raghav’s research is right at the forefront and I am excited about what possibilities lie ahead for Charles Sturt University in this area.”
The Giddon Award recognises a single research investigation published, or accepted for publication, between January 1 and December 31, 2019 in the fields of social or cultural anthropology, education, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, and social work applied to dentistry.
Dr Raghav’s winning research paper ‘Efficacy of virtual reality exposure therapy for the treatment of dental phobia in adults: A randomized controlled trial’ was co-authored by Professor Ad De Jongh and Associate Professor Arjen van Wijk from the University of Amsterdam, and Dr Ratika Kumar from the University of Newcastle, Australia.