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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 60-64

Dental fear in a group of 12-14 years old children - A Prevalence Study

Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Alapakkmn Main Road, Maduravoyal, Chennai, India

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Many fears and phobias particularly those which are chronic, cause distress and impairment over long periods of time and may interfere with growth and development, undermine personality functioning and increase vulnerability to other psychopathy. This study was aimed to present an insight on dental fear among the school children in Chennai, by identifying not only highly fearful children but also children at risk for developing this high dental fear. The Children's Fear Survey Schedule Dental Subscale (CFSS-DS) was compared with age. Fear distribution of sample children was studied, using English and Tamil version of CFSS-DS developed by Cuthbert and Melamed. To identify fear among children, cut-off scores were set at 32 and 38; score below 32 as non-fearful children, between 32 and 38 as at risk of developing dental fear and more than or equal to 39 as fearful children. It was found that 42.4% of children were fearful and 22.0% were at the risk of developing dental fear. Dental fear was associated with age and it decreased with increasing age which was found to be statistically significant (p<<0.05). Items of CFSS-DS like 'having somebody put instruments in your mouth', 'choking' and 'injections' generated highest fear among children. Thus the study shows that dental fear does exist among children. By creating awareness through dental health education and exposure at an early age to dental set-up, development of high dental fear may be prevented.

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