Dental caries experience and prevalence of children afraid of dental treatment

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1992 Dec;20(6):368-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.1992.tb00701.x.


The aim of this study was to examine the clinical outcome with regard to dental caries of high self reported dental anxiety in a group of Scottish secondary schoolchildren. 1103 children participated in the study, mean age 14 yr (sd 0.35 yr), and the prevalence of high dental anxiety was 7.1% (95% CI = 5.6%, 8.6%). When these children were compared with their contemporaries their DMFT and all its components were higher but only the mean MT reached statistical significance after adjusting for gender and social class. Children with a high dental anxiety were 62% more likely to have at least 1 missing tooth due to caries. In addition this group when compared to the rest of the study population, had a significantly lower mean number of teeth fissure sealed and a lower proportion of children with sealants. No similar trend was obvious for children who had a high general fear. The dentally anxious more accurately perceived their treatment need and were more likely to defer, cancel or not turn up for dental appointments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Dental Care
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / statistics & numerical data
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Tooth Loss / epidemiology