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Childhood dental fear in the Netherlands: prevalence and normative data


Maaike ten Berge, Department of Cariology, Endodontology, Pedodontology, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, Louwesweg 1, 1066 EA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 20 5188 364
Fax: + 31 20 5188 544


Objective: This study aimed to present normative data on dental fear for the Dutch child population, by identifying not only highly fearful children but also children at risk for developing this high dental fear. Methods: Fear distribution of samples of high and low fearful children was studied, using the Dutch parent's version of the Dental Subscale of the Children's Fear Survey Schedule (CFSS-DS). Total fear scores were calculated for both samples, for different age levels and for boys and girls separately. To establish cut-off scores, mean CFSS-DS scores were associated with dentists' clinical fear ratings and, in addition, were transformed into stanines. Results: Scores between 32 and 38 were found to represent a borderline area for dental fear, and scores of 39 and higher to represent high dental fear. Conclusion: The results have shown 6% of the Dutch child population to be highly fearful, while another 8% may be at risk to develop high dental fear. By providing extra attention for these children, the development of high dental fear or phobia may be prevented.