In the literature, it is usual to find women and younger subjects reporting higher levels of dental anxiety than men and older subjects. Fear of pain was found to be the most important predictor of dental anxiety and issues of control were also related to such anxiety. Therefore, it was predicted that gender and age differences would be reflected in attitudes to pain and control. Subjects were randomly selected from the voters' list in metropolitan Toronto and mailed a questionnaire with a request for cooperation in a study of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour regarding dental treatment. The questionnaire included demographic data, measures of dental anxiety and painful experiences as well as the Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale and the Iowa Dental Control Index. The results supported the main predictions. In addition, attitudes to pain and control were found to be complex phenomena with characteristic gender differences.