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A 10-year follow-up of patients treated for dental fear.

Journal article
Authors Magnus Hakeberg
Ulf Berggren
Sven G. Carlsson
Published in Scandinavian journal of dental research
Volume 98
Issue 1
Pages 53-9
ISSN 0029-845X
Publication year 1990
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 53-9
Language en
Keywords Adaptation, Psychological, Adult, Affect, Anxiety, prevention & control, Behavior Therapy, Dental Care, psychology, Desensitization, Psychologic, Diazepam, administration & dosage, therapeutic use, Fear, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Preanesthetic Medication, Self-Assessment
Subject categories Psychology


Different types of treatment have been used in trying to reduce dental anxiety in adult patients with severe fear and avoidance behavior. However, there is an obvious shortage in long-term treatment follow-up. The present investigation reports results over a period of 10 yr of 14 patients treated for dental fear in a specialized dental fear treatment and research clinic. The aims of this project were to evaluate patients' regularity in dental behavior between 1977 and 1987, changes in and present level of dental fear and other long-standing positive/negative effects of the respective initial treatments. The 14 dental phobic patients were assigned to two treatment groups, one receiving Systematic Desensitization and one Premedication with valium before dental treatment. Pre- and posttreatment status as well as the 10-yr follow-up were evaluated by psychometric (Corah's Dental Anxiety Scale and a Mood Adjective Checklist) and physiological (Skin Conductance Response) measurements. A majority of patients (100% SD, 63% P) reported regular dental care during the period 1977-87. Positive side-effects were reported by seven patients. A significant reduction of dental fear (DAS) was found with a better effect for the SD-group. This was paralleled by a rise in mood (MACL). The SCR figures were non-significant. In conclusion, the results revealed long-standing effects with regard to a high degree of regular dental care and reduction of dental fear. In addition, positive side-effects were reported.

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