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A survey of patients' concerns about visiting the dentist and how dentists can help

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Charlotte CurrieORCiD, Dr Chris PenlingtonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Background Regular dental attendance is important in order to receive preventive care, maintain good oral health and identify oral and dental disease at an early stage, however many people do not visit their dentist regularly. Barriers to regular attendance have been studied in small patient groups but not in the wider general population. Objective To outline concerns about visiting the dentist and suggestions about how dentists could help using a general population sample. Method A survey was constructed using Qualtrics XM software and circulated. Respondents completed questionnaires about dental anxiety and about their concerns and suggestions around dental appointments including the option for free text answers. Results One hundred and fifty-four people completed the survey. Common concerns were the unknown element (62.58%) and worries about “bad teeth” (60.54%). The most popular request for change was for dentists to inform patients of the condition of all their teeth including those in good health (86.30%). A thematic analysis of qualitative responses identified themes of Control, Shame, Discomfort, Long-Term Impact and Cost. Several concerns and suggestions for improvement were expressed. Conclusion Although pain associated with dental treatment was identified as important, concerns about the unknown and feeling vulnerable were seen as a higher priority. People in the general population want dentists to help them to feel informed and in control at dental appointments and to be involved in discussions about how they are feeling and what is important to them.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Calladine H, Currie C, Penlington C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation

Year: 2022

Volume: 49

Issue: 4

Pages: 414-421

Print publication date: 01/04/2022

Online publication date: 14/01/2022

Acceptance date: 07/01/2022

Date deposited: 05/02/2022

ISSN (print): 0305-182X

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2842

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/joor.13305


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