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The impact of dental phobia on care planning: a vignette study


Introduction A high percentage of people with dental phobia have poor oral health. This may be the result of delayed treatment or differences in care planning by the oral health care team.

Aim This study sought to determine the effect, if any, of dental phobia and complexity of dental care on the proposed care plan devised by clinicians for patients.

Design An experimental analogue study with independent variables of the presence of phobia and complexity of treatment need. Dependent variables included frequency of care planning elements such as periodontal treatment, prevention, restorations, root canal treatment, extraction and provision of crowns, bridges and prostheses.

Participants Seventy-nine UK-based dental practitioners.

Analysis The association between the case status (phobic versus non-phobic, simple versus complex) and the outcome variables were assessed using a chi-square test for association. Logistic regression analyses were also used to determine the predictors of care planning elements.

Results There were no differences in care planning for phobic and non-phobic patients. Complexity of treatment need had significant effects on advanced periodontal treatment, restorations anterior and posterior, root canal treatment, provision of crowns, and extractions.

Conclusions Care planning is influenced by patients' dental needs and not their phobic status.

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The authors would like to thank all the participants in this study.

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Correspondence to Ellie Heidari.

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Heidari, E., Newton, J., Andiappan, M. et al. The impact of dental phobia on care planning: a vignette study. Br Dent J 226, 581–587 (2019).

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