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13 Jan 2022

New study highlights the benefits of treating dental fear in children

A new study has highlighted the benefits of treating dental fear in children.

A new study has highlighted the benefits of treating dental fear in children.

Researchers in Finland discovered that early intervention could improve dental health outcomes in later life. A team from the University of Oulu found that treating dental fear in young children increased the likelihood of them attending dental appointments during adolescence and adulthood. Children who received treatment were more likely to attend regular check-ups and seek advice if they needed dental care than patients who experienced dental fear and did not undergo treatment for it.

The study was designed to evaluate the long-term impact of treatment for dental fear. Researchers analysed data from patients who attended the Clinic for Fearful Dental Patients of the City of Oulu. The clinic provides help for patients who have symptoms of anxiety and dental phobia at the same time as offering dental treatment. The aim is to encourage patients to feel less anxious when they have treatment so that they feel able to seek advice and go to routine appointments in the future.

Avoiding going to the dentist is one of the most significant indicators of dental fear and it can increase the risk of complex dental issues, which are expensive to treat and involve more complicated procedures.

The research team analysed data from 152 patients who attended the clinic using information gathered during the treatment period and during a follow-up period ten years later.

The study revealed that children who had treatment between the ages of 2 and 10 years old were more likely to attend routine appointments than patients who were older at the time of treatment. Researchers also found that patients who had treatment earlier were calmer and more confident when accessing dental care in a general primary care setting.

A previous study indicated that 70% of patients underwent successful treatment at the fear clinic, meaning they could have dental treatment without being referred back to the fear clinic.

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