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Keywords:

  • anxiety;
  • behavioral science;
  • graded exposure;
  • questionnaires;
  • sedation;
  • social validation

Forbes MDL, Boyle CA, Newton T. Acceptability of behaviour therapy for dental phobia. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 2012; 40: 1–7. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Abstract –  Objective:  To determine how people with dental phobia rate the acceptability of behavioural therapy.

Methods:  One hundred and twenty individuals with dental phobia participated in a three-factor experimental vignette-based design. The three factors examined were dental treatment history, nature of intervention (intravenous sedation or behavioural therapy) and treatment outcome. There were eight different vignettes representing all combinations of the three experimental variables, and 15 participants completed each vignette.

Results:  Treatment outcome had a strong effect on rated acceptability (F = 115.76, P < 0.001). There was a weaker effect of treatment type (F = 5.49, P < 0.05) with behavioural therapy rated as more acceptable than intravenous sedation. Previous history of intravenous sedation was associated with a decreased perception that it is possible to overcome dental fear.

Conclusions:  The perceptions of individuals with dental phobia of the acceptability of behavioural approaches to management are influenced by the perceived outcome of the treatment.