Objectives: Dental satisfaction is associated with continuity of dental care, compliance with dentist advice, and positive health outcomes. It is expected that people with higher dental fear might have less dental satisfaction because of more negative dental experiences. The objective of this study was to examine satisfaction and reasons for satisfaction with dental practitioners in Switzerland and variations by dental fear.
Methods: A national sample of 1,129 Swiss residents aged 15-74 (mean = 43.2 years) completed a personal interview at their home with questions assessing dental fear, dental service use, general satisfaction with their dentist, and reasons for satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Results: Overall, 47.9 percent of participants responded that they were satisfied with their dentist and 47.6 percent that they were very satisfied. Satisfaction differed significantly by gender, language spoken, region of residence, and educational attainment. Greater dental fear was significantly associated with greater dissatisfaction with the dentist. The percentage of people who were very satisfied with the dentist ranged from 56.0 percent among people with no fear to 30.5 percent for participants with “quite a lot” of fear but was higher (44.4 percent) for people who stated that they were “very much” afraid of the dentist. The most common reasons attributed for satisfaction with dentists were interpersonal characteristics of the dentist and staff. People with “quite a lot” of fear were found to endorse these sentiments least.
Conclusions: Although higher dental fear was associated with more dissatisfaction with the dentist, the level of satisfaction among fearful individuals in Switzerland is still high.