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Dental Phobia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

Henry Lautch*
Department of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham 15; Burton Road Hospital, Dudley, Worcestershire


Although a number of papers have been written emphasizing the need for conservative dentistry and describing various ways of dealing with patients fearful of dental treatment, little systematic attention has been paid to understanding the basis of this impediment. A fear of dental treatment is, indeed, so common that it can almost be considered normal unless of such a degree as to interfere with much needed dental care. Thus, in the U.S.A. Freidson and Feldman (1958) reported that 51 per cent of a large and representative sample did not visit a dentist regularly. Out of these 9 per cent reported that their reluctance to do so was based on fear. Similarly, Kegeles (1963) reported that fear of dental treatment significantly reduced the number of preventive dental care visits, independent of social class. Shoben and Borland (1954) found that unfavourable family dental experience and unfavourable family attitudes towards dentistry were the only factors which discriminated between fearful and non-fearful dental patients.

Research Article
Copyright © The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1971 

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