Prevalence of dental anxiety in 7- to 11-year-old children and its relationship to dental caries

Med Princ Pract. 2009;18(6):453-7. doi: 10.1159/000235894. Epub 2009 Sep 30.


Objectives: The aims of this cross-sectional study were to evaluate the level of fear of dental procedures among schoolchildren and assess the relationship between caries experience and fear of dental procedures.

Subjects and methods: 275 children aged 7-11 years were recruited for the study. Before conducting a dental examination, each subject was asked to independently complete a Children's Fear Survey Schedule - Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS) questionnaire. Children having a score of > or =38 were included in the group 'with dental fear' while those scoring <38 were placed in the 'without dental fear' group. All dental examinations were performed on the school premises according to WHO criteria.

Results: Mean CFSS-DS value was 28.1, and the number of children who experienced dental fear was 40 (14.5%). It was found that Decayed, Missing and Filled Surface Index (DMFS-dfs) increased significantly with increasing CFSS-DS values. Fear scores were highest for 'Choking' (3.3), 'Injections' (2.6) and 'Having somebody put instruments in their mouth' (2.6). No significant differences in fear scores between boys and girls were found in this study.

Conclusions: The data showed prevalence of dental fear in the 7-11-year-old children of this study. Dental fear scores decreased with increasing age.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Dental Caries / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Turkey / epidemiology