Volume 10

The Effects of Gender and Early Dental Experiences on Dental Anxiety

Maya Ludwig

The study was designed to examine the influence of gender and early dental experience on dental anxiety and behavior. A sample of 109 adults, mostly Caucasian college student, was presented with survey consisting of scenarios depicting early dental visits. The scenarios varied by character gender and whether the first dental experience was negative or neutral. Participants completed scales measuring perceived dental anxiety and avoidance of the character as adult. They also provided information on their own dental concerns, fears, anxieties and experiences. The findings indicated that participants’ perceived dental avoidance - minimizing dental visits, with early negative dental experience – an individual’s own traumatic experience in a dental office. The majority of those participants reported to be women. In addition it was found that participants’ own perceived dental fears were associated with their perceived dental concerns and other general anxieties. However, participants did not perceive dental anxiety with an early negative dental experience described in the study. Self reports indicated that the majority of participants had their first dental visit by the age of 6, for a routine checkup and the majority of participants have dental insurance and had braces in the past.

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