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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2000 Dec;28(6):435-42.

Dental anxiety reduction and dental attendance after treatment in a dental fear clinic: a follow-up study.

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Department of Social Dentistry and Dental Health Education, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



The aim of the present study was to assess treatment outcome in terms of dental anxiety reduction at a post-treatment assessment and dental anxiety reduction and dental attendance one year later. Furthermore, it was determined to what extent psychopathological characteristics were related to treatment outcome.


Questionnaires were sent to 280 patients treated with one of three treatment modes (i.e., behavioral management (BM), nitrous oxide sedation (NOS), and intravenous sedation (IVS)) at a dental fear clinic in The Netherlands. Dental anxiety before (T1) and after (T2) treatment was assessed using the Dental Anxiety Scale (DAS) and the Short version of the Dental Anxiety Inventory (S-DAI); the Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90) was used to assess general psychopathology. Dental anxiety was assessed again a year later and patients were questioned about their dental attendance pattern (T3).


ANOVA showed that the DAS and S-DAI scores at T2 and T3 were statistically significant lower than the initial scores. In addition, IVS patients showed less anxiety reduction than BM patients at both T2 and T3. Of the 145 patients whose last visit to the clinic was at least one year ago, 62% had visited a GDP at T3. A regression analysis revealed that, beside treatment mode, somatization, number of visits to clinic for dental treatment, and number of months between first and last visit to the clinic predicted dental anxiety at follow-up.


It is concluded that, although a reduction in dental anxiety level was present, a relatively large proportion of patients did not improve, in terms of both dental anxiety and dental attendance.

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