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J Am Dent Assoc. 2003 Aug;134(8):1101-8.

Fear of dental care: are we making any progress?

Author information

1
Behavioral Science Department, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0086, USA. tasmit01@uky.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Dental anxiety has been a well-studied phenomenon since the late 1960s. The purpose of this literature review was to compare self-reported levels of dental anxiety during the past 50 years.

METHODS:

The authors reviewed more than 200 articles and examined 19 studies involving more than 10,000 adults to assess any trends in dental anxiety. They investigated mean anxiety scores for college students and general adult samples using four measures of dental anxiety. Comparisons were made across publication year and location of study.

RESULTS:

Analyses of variance suggest stability in dental anxiety scores over time and region within both types of study samples. Regardless of assessment length (single item or multi-item), the authors found no significant trends suggesting an increase or decrease in self-reported anxiety levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that despite an increase in general anxiety within the United States during the past 50 years, dental anxiety seems to have remained stable throughout the period.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

The authors discuss the stable trend of self-reported dental anxiety levels in the context of increasing general anxiety in the United States and the current structure of individual dental practices.

PMID:
12956352
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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