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World J Clin Cases. 2014 Nov 16;2(11):642-53. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v2.i11.642.

Pathways of fear and anxiety in dentistry: A review.

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Ava Elizabeth Carter, Geoff Carter, Roy George, School of Dentistry and Oral Health Griffith University, Southport, Gold Coast, QLD 4215, Australia.


The aim of this article was to analyze the theories underpinning dental fear, anxiety and phobias. To be included, articles must have been published between the years of 1949 and 2013 concerning fears and phobias within dentistry and/or psychiatry. Of 200 articles originally under review, 140 were included and reviewed by the authors.Five specific pathways relating to dental fear and anxiety were identified; Cognitive Conditioning, Informative, Visual Vicarious, Verbal Threat, and Parental. Eight currently accepted management techniques across all dental disciplines for dental fear and anxiety were identified. Further research is required to identify clinical diagnosis and treatment for fears originating from different pathways.


Dentistry; Fear and anxiety; Origin; Phobia; Therapies and management

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