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J Am Dent Assoc. 2005 Jan;136(1):58-66; quiz 90-1.

Regular dental visits and dental anxiety in an adult dentate population.

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  • 1Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences & Endodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-1078, USA.



The objective of this study was to investigate factors associated with regular dental visits in an adult population.


A representative sample of non-institutionalized dentate adults (aged 18 through 69 years) from the Detroit tricounty area (Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties) was randomly selected using list-assisted random digit dialing. The authors collected the data through a self-administered questionnaire that asked for information about regular dental visits, private dental insurance, perceived oral health status and dental treatment experience. The authors used Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale to measure respondents' dental anxiety level. They also conducted a descriptive analysis and a logistic regression analysis.


A final sample of 630 adults who resided in 368 households participated in this study. Seventy-two percent of respondents had dental insurance (excluding Medicaid). About 63 percent reported that they visited a dentist regularly. About 12 percent of adults had high dental anxiety (a score of 13 or higher on the Corah scale). A logistic regression model found that dental anxiety, dental insurance status and perceived oral health status were significantly associated with regular dental visits after accounting for sociodemographic factors such as sex, age and income. Among those who had dental insurance, dentally anxious adults were significantly less likely to visit dentists regularly. However, this association was not significant among respondents without dental insurance.


Dental insurance, perceived oral health status and dental anxiety were associated with regular dental visits. Dental anxiety was an influencing factor in regular dental visit behavior, especially among adults who had private dental insurance.


Practitioners need to be educated about the causes of dental anxiety and receive training in how to treat the problem.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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