Fear and dental anxiety in children: a study of the contributing factors.

Maria Pasca 1, Andreea Pazitor 2, Daniela Esian 1, Oana Elena Stoica 1, Alexandra Mihaela Stoica 1, Cristina Ioana Bica 1
1 George Emil Palade University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science, and Technology of Târgu-Mureș, Romania
2 Mures County Emergency Clinical Hospital, Targu Mures, Romania

Introduction: Dental fear and anxiety are an important issue affecting children’s oral health and clinical management, and also an insufficiently studied subject in dentistry.
Aim of the study: The aim of this study was to better understand the child patient – dentist versus dentist – child patient relationship and study the dental fear and anxiety of children in order to improve the dental office practice.
Material and methods: In this study a personalized questionnaire was created and applied on a number of 333 children, in 4 schools from Mures county, Romania, on girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 13. The questionnaires used emoticons alongside words in order to better determine the state of anxiety created by the dental appointment and everything that it entails. All data and results obtained were analyzed using Excel and Graph Pad Prism 5.0 software.
Results: Out of 333 patients, 133 subjects (40%) were 8-10-year-old, 143 subjects (42.9%) 11 – 13 years and 57 subjects (17.1%) were over 14 years. 175 girls (52.6%) and 158 boys (47.4%) demonstrated their courage and desire in participating in our study. It was determined that fear of dental appointments was caused in children over 14 years of age. The state of relaxation is generally enjoyed by urban children (45%) and those aged 11-13 years (37.1%); the percentage of boys in this category is an interesting aspect (40.5%).
Conclusion: Dental anxiety is multifactorial and is far more complex than can be explained by a single contributing factor. The direct involvement of the child from the perspective of maintaining dental health, leads to the elimination of the state of fear and anxiety. Regular visits to the dental office, on the initiative of the child patient itself can reduce the anguish.