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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2007 Aug;35(4):292-301.

Effect of fear on dental utilization behaviors and oral health outcome.

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Department of Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL 35294-0007, USA.



This paper assesses the effect of fear on a number of dental utilization behaviors and oral heath outcome in a sample of adult Floridians.


A telephone survey was conducted in 2004 among 504 adult Floridians. Data collected included sociodemographic factors, specific fear of dental pain (FDP), global FDP, global dental fear, three measures of dental utilization behaviors, and one measure of oral health outcome. Chi-squared tests and logistic regression analyses were conducted to quantify the individual and multivariate associations between fear factors and four behavior and outcome measures.


Global FDP was significantly associated with putting off making a dental appointment and approach to dental treatment. Global dental fear showed an independent negative impact on all four behavior and outcome measures; reports regarding specific fear of painful dental events were not significantly associated with four behavior and outcome measures.


Our findings suggest that: (i) dental fear and FDP have independent negative effects on dental utilization behaviors and oral health outcome after controlling for other sociodemographic and general health factors; and (ii) global dental fear encompasses broader components than FDP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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