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J Am Dent Assoc. 1989 May;118(5):591-3.

The prevalence of dental fear and avoidance: expanded adult and recent adolescent surveys.

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Division of Psychology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235.


This study evaluates the current incidence of dental fear and avoidance in a general population of adults and adolescents. Two adult samples were collected. The consisted of 1,882 individuals who were contacted randomly by telephone; the second sample consisted of 357 junior high and secondary school teachers who received a questionnaire. The adolescent sample, also surveyed by questionnaire, consisted of 641 junior high school students and 801 secondary school students. Results indicate that 11.2% to 12.3% of the adults reported high dental fear; 17.5% to 18.2% reported moderate dental fear. Similar rates were found among the adolescents. A major new finding was that more adolescents than adults had not seen a dentist in a year or more.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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