IS DENTAL PHOBIA A BLOOD-INJECTION-INJURY PHOBIA?

Authors

  • C.M.H.H. van Houtem D.D.S., M.Sc.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Social Dentistry and Behavioural Sciences ACTA, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • Correspondence to: Caroline van Houtem, Department of Social Dentistry and Behavioural Sciences ACTA, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Gustav Mahlerlaan 3004, 1081 LA, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: c.v.houtem@acta.nl

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  • I.H.A. Aartman Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Social Dentistry and Behavioural Sciences ACTA, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • D.I. Boomsma Professor,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • L. Ligthart Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • C.M. Visscher Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Oral Kinesiology ACTA, Research Institute MOVE, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • A. de Jongh Professor

    1. Department of Social Dentistry and Behavioural Sciences ACTA, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    2. School of Health Sciences, Salford University, Manchester, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Background

Dental phobia is part of the Blood-Injection-Injury (B-I-I) phobia subtype of specific phobia within DSM-IV-TR. To investigate the conceptual validity of this classification, the purpose of the present study was to determine the co-occurrence of dental phobia, typical dental (and B-I-I related) fears, vasovagal fainting, and avoidance of dental care.

Method

Data were collected by an online survey in Dutch twin families (n = 11,213).

Results

Individuals with a positive screen of dental phobia (0.4% of the sample) rated typical B-I-I-related stimuli as relatively little anxiety provoking (e.g. of all 28 fears the stimulus “the sight of blood” was ranked lowest). Presence of dental phobia was significantly associated with a history of dizziness or fainting during dental treatment (OR = 3.4; 95% CI: 1.5–8.1), but of the dental phobic individuals only 13.0% reported a history of dizziness or fainting during dental treatment. Presence of dental phobia (OR = 5.0; 95% CI: 2.8–8.8) was found to be associated with avoidance of dental care, but a history of dizziness or fainting during dental treatment was not (OR = 1.0; 95% CI: 0.8–1.2).

Conclusions

The present findings converge to the conclusion that dental phobia should be considered a specific phobia subtype independent of the B-I-I cluster within the DSM classification system.

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