Dentists' views on fearful patients. Problems and promises.Swed Dent J. 2012; 36(2):79-89.SD
A large number of patients treated in the general dental health service in Western countries report dental fear to some degree. Dentists' views of treating these fearful patients are not well described in the literature.Therefore, the aims of the study were to explore dentists' attitudes towards, experience of, and feelings about treating fearful patients. The sample consisted of 1293 members of the Association of Public Health Dentists in Sweden who were asked to respond to a web survey concerning dental fear. The response rate was 69% (n = 889).The majority of the responding dentists stated that dental fear is a problem in routine dental care,treating patients with dental fear is a positive challenge and they felt they were making a contribution.They also reported that treating patients with dental fear is associated with hard work, poor revenues, and little appreciation by employers. Female dentists reported a greater proportion of patients with dental fear and greater self-efficacy regarding the treatment of these patients, compared with their male colleagues. Dentists trained in other EU countries reported stress more often and less perceived contribution when treating fearful patients, compared with colleagues trained in Sweden.
Dentists' views of treating fearful patients are mainly positive; however, it is problematic that dentists feel stress and that dentists who treat many fearful patients feel their employers do not appreciate their efforts.