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Dental Anxiety: A Cycle of Bad Teeth and Bad Feelings

November 11th, 2009 · 2 Comments

scared ptOut of one thousand subjects, aged 15 to 32, who participated in a study with University of Otago in New Zealand, one quarter suffered from dental anxiety. For research purposes in this project, “dental anxiety” refers to people who completely avoid dental care out of fear.

Head researcher, Prof. Murray Thompson, reports that anxious subjects became increasingly more anxious about dental care as time progressed, until dental work was unavoidable. The professor attributes this to the fact that postponing dental care will lead to more extensive dental problems, which require more significant procedures. In analyzing the patients, Prof. Thompson found that those with anxiety tended to have a more skeptical outlook on life and felt anxious in many situations outside of dental care.

The study found that patients with anxiety lost and average of 22 teeth by age 32, whereas non-anxious patients lost 13. Furthermore, dental anxiety can onset at any time during life. The study broke participants into three groups – those who were anxious in early childhood, those who developed anxiety as teens, and those who experienced anxiety only as adults. It was found that teens with anxiety can “grow out” of the condition over time.

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Tags: Clinical

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